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Government investing to future proof school property

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Nearly every state schools will receive a capital injection next year valued at $693 per student to bring forward urgent school property improvements, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

The one-off cash injection is the first project to be announced from the Government’s infrastructure package to future proof the economy and will see some schools receive up to $400,000 to spend on needed upgrades that have been put on the back burner.

It’s the biggest capital injection for school maintenance funding in at least 25 years.

School property projects the investment can be spent on include:

- Classroom upgrades, including making classrooms more flexible and modern

- Replacing roofing and guttering

- Upgrading storm water drainage systems

- Installing energy efficient heating and lighting

- Resurfacing outdoor courts and paved areas.

"Nearly every school and community in New Zealand will benefit from this windfall investment. I’m proud that students and teachers will be the first to benefit from our infrastructure upgrade," Jacinda Ardern said.

"The Government is taking advantage of historically low interest rates to improve school buildings and grounds and creating jobs up and down the country. It’s the biggest capital injection for school maintenance funding in at least 25 years.

"This package is a real shot in the arm for our schools, giving them the opportunity to fix roofs, windows and walls to provide modern, comfortable classrooms that are great for kids to learn in.

"I’ve visited plenty of schools and I’d be hard pressed to name one that didn’t have need. You hear horror stories about kids learning in damp, mouldy classrooms.

"The investment is great for local tradespeople. We want schools to engage local builders, plumbers, carpenters, roofers, landscapers - this is an opportunity for work at a local level in every town and city in the country.

"This Government is committed to growing our economy, creating jobs and making our schools great places to learn and the centre of local communities. This policy delivers on all those objectives."

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said: "In recent years many schools have had to put off building projects and make do with patched up classrooms and playgrounds.

"When we have the opportunity as we do now, we should and can do better to lift the quality of the classrooms students and teachers spend so much time in.

"This cash injection, to be administered by the Ministry of Education through existing planning processes, gives schools breathing room to catch up on deferred building work. It’s a well-deserved early Christmas present for school communities," Chris Hipkins said.

Key elements of the policy

- The total value of the package is $396 million.

- Each eligible school will receive $693 per student, up to a maximum of $400,000

- Every school will receive at least $50,000 regardless of size of school roll

- Special schools will receive $200,000 each, regardless of roll size.

- Money will need to be spent within the next 24 months

- Around 2050 state schools opened before 2015 are eligible

- Integrated schools, schools built through a Public Private Partnership, or schools in leased accommodation are not eligible.

Education property highlights under the Coalition Government

- This $400 million package

- Invested $1.2 billion in school capital in 2019 budget.

- Planning classroom space for 100,000 extra students by 2030

- 726 new classrooms built or upgraded for more than 15,000 students

- More than 386 new and upgraded classrooms to be delivered in Auckland for 9,300 students.

- Invested in the upgrade or new build of at least 1100 extra classrooms, benefiting 33,000 students around the country

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