At its Oct. 26 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts School Building Authority approved a staff recommendation to temporarily pause the Accelerated Repair Program and not accept ARP Statements of Interest in 2023.

The ARP provides funding for the repair or replacement of roofs, windows and boilers in schools that are otherwise structurally, functionally and educationally sound.

The MSBA said “unanticipated market volatility and supply chain issues have significantly affected project bid results,” which are exceeding budget estimates by large margins.

The MSBA said the pause of the ARP will provide additional space in the MSBA’s Annual Project Approval Cap, which could be used to offset a portion of increases in certain funding limits for the MSBA’s Core Program, while minimizing the reduction in invitations to the MSBA’s grant program.

The ARP pause does not affect the Core Program and does not apply to ARP projects that have already been invited into the MSBA’s grant program, including ARP invitations that were approved by the Board of Directors at the Oct. 26 meeting.

Five of the 16 Core Program projects for 2022 that have reported bid results to the MSBA received bids in excess of budget estimates. Ten of the 16 projects have obtained, or are preparing to seek, additional funding through an additional appropriation or the use of American Rescue Plan Act funding. To date, five projects that are in the bidding phase have received approval for additional project funding, and one project funding vote failed at town meeting.

ARP projects have a similar experience, with projects now estimating unit prices in excess of MSBA funding limits, such as roofing estimated in excess of $50 per square foot, with the MSBA funding limit at $35 per square foot.

Additionally, staff shortages at the district level and for consultants have led to delays in processing current projects within the ARP timelines. Higher costs have resulted in some districts withdrawing their SOIs.

Supply chain issues have affected construction schedules that were timed for completion during the summer, when most school buildings are unoccupied.

The MSBA said its staff will continue to review potential changes to the funding policies for Core Program districts, including a review of the reimbursable construction cost per square foot amount. The potential changes could apply to districts that have not yet received Project Scope and Budget approval as of the Dec. 21 Board of Directors meeting.

The MSBA said the 2023 SOI opening for the Core Program is planned for January 2023.