Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman says the State will help reimburse the city of Springfield for the cost of rebuilding two schools severely damaged by last year’s tornado. Grossman’s comments were made today [Wednesday] in Springfield, where he also attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new vocational school building. Grossman says the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which he chairs, will cover the costs of renovating Mary Dryden Elementary School and rebuilding the Elias Brookings Magnet School not covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA. Current state law mandates the Authority to pay only up to 80% of a school building project. But under legislation signed by Governor Patrick last week, Grossman says the Authority is being allowed to go beyond that cap for the first time in its history. The projects total costs have not yet been fully calculated. Grossman says the Authority’s contribution will be decided after FEMA determines its share of disaster aid to fund rebuilding the schools
“We will relieve the burden on the people of Springfield and do what we think is appropriate working hand-in-glove with the Mayor and his team, but making sure that FEMA resolves its issues. So it’s a work in progress, but we have the discretion to go beyond 80% and there is no limit built into the state legislation in terms of what we can do.”
Jack McCarthy, the Authority’s Executive Director, says the goal is for renovations at Dryden School to begin by the end of this calendar year, and late spring for the ground breaking of a new Brookings School. Both Grossman and McCarthy later joined state and local leaders for a ribbon-cutting at the new Putnam Vocational Technical High School. The 315-thousand square-foot state-of-the-art Academy was built at a cost of $114 million. Under a grandfather clause, the School Building Authority is reimbursing the city for 90% of the project’s cost.