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SHIRLEY — When a building project at the Lura A. White School that had been approved for a 70 percent reimbursement by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) was completed a couple of years ago, the clock started ticking on follow-up documentation that would bring that state money home.

But somehow, the process short-circuited.

Then, in November of this year, town treasurer Kevin Johnston received notice from the MSBA that the reimbursement period was about to expire. Unless all the necessary paperwork was filed within two days, the agency would close the book on the project and the town would not get the money, which amounted to more than a half million dollars.

Relating the story at the Dec. 10 School Committee meeting, interim Superintendent Malcolm “Mac” Reid said that thanks to business manager Evan Katz, the town received a check from the state for over $500,000. But before that could happen, Reid said, he had to buy some time. So he made a call to the MSBA and got two weeks.

That’s when Katz went to work, he said, identifying, gathering and verifying the purchase orders, invoices and architects’ signatures and various permits that were among the “ton” of documents the MSBA would need. The paperwork was forwarded to the agency and just barely met the deadline, which was noon on the day of its monthly meeting.

“It took almost two weeks to pull all the information together,” Reid said.

The town incurred a $380,000 long-term debt that still has from 10 to 15 years to go, and the reimbursement money will help pay that bill, town administrator Kyle Keady said at a previous selectmen’s meeting. The plan, if town meeting voters approve it, is to create a dedicated stabilization fund for the purpose and to bankroll the rest in the town’s existing stabilization fund, he said.

Although the School Department doesn’t get the money, the town does and that means a lot, particularly in the current tight financial situation, Reid said.

“Evan saved a half-million dollars when we need it. Good work,” Reid said.