Superintendent’s Memo #254-13

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

September 20, 2013

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Request to Complete School Building Inventory

Governor McDonnell has directed the Secretary of Education and the Department of Education to conduct an inventory of all existing public school buildings in Virginia, including those not currently in use.  The data from the inventory will be used to demonstrate to federal lawmakers the degree to which public schools in Virginia, working with private entities, would benefit from use of the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit in renovating and modernizing older schools.  Currently, the “prior use” provision in the federal law governing this tax credit precludes private entities from using it to offset the costs of renovating and modernizing older school buildings for continued use as a school.  The Governor’s press release on this issue and his directive for the school building inventory is available at: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/news/viewRelease.cfm?id=1964.

I am asking for your assistance in completing this inventory for all school facilities owned or operated by your school division, whether currently in service or vacant.  The inventory will be submitted online using a data collection form that has been added to the existing “School Building Construction and Renovation (SBCR)” application located in the Department’s Single Sign-on for Web Systems (SSWS) portal.  Instructions for accessing and completing the inventory are provided in Attachment A.  It is recommended that the respondent to the inventory be the current division contact for the SBCR-SSWS application or your division facilities director.  These staff should currently have access to the SSWS portal and the SBCR application; if not, they can obtain access through the division SSWS account manager.

The inventory application in SSWS will pre-populate all active school buildings in your division that are in the Department’s school database.  There is also the ability to add buildings to the inventory that are not in the department’s database so that these building are included as well.  The inventory items will focus on school buildings that are greater than 30 years old.  For these buildings, six items of information are completed in the inventory application:  age of building, square footage, student capacity, year of last additions/renovations, building historical designation, and estimated cost to renovate/modernize.

A report is due to the Governor by November 1, 2013.  Consequently, I am requesting that divisions complete the inventory for all schools in the division and submit the information to the Department via SSWS by October 18, 2013.  The division superintendent is not required to certify the inventory data before it is submitted to the department; however, it is recommended that you review the data before it is submitted.

If you or your staff have any questions or need assistance with completing the inventory, please contact Kent Dickey, deputy superintendent for finance and operations, or other staff assisting with this project:  June Eanes, director of support services, at June.Eanes@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2037; Hunter Barnes, architectural consultant, at Hunter.Barnes@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2035; or Vijay Ramnarain, architectural consultant, at Vijay.Ramnarain@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2035.

Your assistance with this important data collection is greatly appreciated.  I am hopeful it will drive changes at the federal level to allow the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit to be used to offset the costs of renovation and modernization of older school buildings for continued use as public schools in Virginia.

PIW/KCD/cle

Attachment:

  1. Instructions for Completing School Building Inventory (Word)