School Building Issues
Green Ribbon Schools Award
Launched by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) in 2011, the Green Ribbon Schools recognition honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and delivering effective environmental and sustainability education that incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways.
Qualified Zone Academy Bonds
The federal government has extended the qualified zone academy bond (QZAB) program through 2014. This program subsidizes the cost of school building renovations and certain other types of capital projects. For a complete program description, eligibility information, and application instructions, see the new Request for Proposals.
School Building Authority.
On July 26, Governor Romney signed into law Chapter 208 of the Acts of 2004, establishing a new Massachusetts School Building Authority. The new authority has assumed responsibility for the Commonwealth's school building assistance (SBA) program. All requests and inquiries regarding the SBA program should be directed to the new authority.
Department of Environmental Protection: Notice to schools and districts on lead in school drinking water
MassEnergyInsight is a new, robust, easy-to-use, energy information tool developed by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. It is available at no cost to municipalities and school districts. The tool sorts information from utility companies into a database that will benchmark the consumption of electricity, natural gas, and heating oil in public facilities revealing energy use, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Protecting Health and the Environment at K-12 Schools, Including Art Programs
Two guidance documents are now available free from EPA, one covering all aspects of K-12 schools and one specifically for art programs. They include:
Public School Chemical Management Program - MassDEP
New mercury legislation and its impact on schools
Joint letter from Commissioner Driscoll and Acting DEP Commissioner O'Donnell
Department of Environmental Protection Mercury Management
Facility Planning Guide
This Guide was prepared by members of the National Forum on Education Statistics to help school facilities managers plan for efficient and effective operations. The Planning Guide has been developed to help readers better understand why and how to develop, implement, and evaluate a facilities maintenance plan. It provides practical advice on a range of topics; including how to do facilities audits, building inventories and maintenance planning and how to manage staff and contractors and evaluate maintenance efforts.
Healthy Schools Checklist
The Healthy Schools Council (HSC) was established in 2001. The council is made up of representatives from the Departments of: Education, Public Health, Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Occupational Safety, Environmental Protection, Food and Agriculture; the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, the Office of Technical Assistance, the Attorney General's Office, the State Fire Marshall's Office and the Board of Higher Education.
This inter-agency council identified a working group of key staff from agencies involved with environmental health and safety issues in schools, who were tasked with identifying a list of the most important issues for schools to address in terms of environmental health and safety. This document contains information and resources to assist Massachusetts' school systems in identifying and remedying indoor environment health and safety problems.
Chapter 40, Section 3 - Town; power to hold, lease and convey property
With the approval of the school committee and the Commissioner of Education, a city or town may rent or lease surplus space in a school building in actual use, provided that such joint occupancy does not interfere with educational programs being conducted in said building.
Chapter 71, Section 71 - Use of School Property
The school committee may conduct educational and recreational activities in or upon school property under its control or shall allow the use thereof by individuals and associations for such activities as it deems for the interest of the community.
Chapter 71, Section 71E - Separate account for leasing school property
In any city or town which accepts this section, all moneys received by the school committee in connection with the use of school property under section seventy-one, shall be deposited with the treasurer of the town or city and held as separate accounts. The receipts held in such a separate account may be expended by said school committee without further appropriation for expenses incurred in making school property available for such use, notwithstanding the provisions of section fifty-three of chapter forty-four of the General Laws.