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Schools receive boost of more than $400 million

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today released the Government’s property works programme for schools, confirming that $403 million will be spent on new work at schools in 2000/01.

The programme represents over a $30 million increase from the last works programme of the previous Government, underlining the Government's determination to deliver a better learning environment for both teachers and students as education enters the new millennium.

"It includes a general modernisation programme, the new five year property programme, health and safety provision, and new sites and classrooms in high demand areas.

" With the deferred maintenance backlog finally out of the way there is more money available for general modernisation of schools than there has been for many years," Trevor Mallard said.

"For this financial year, 450 schools will receive an average of $215,000 for general modernisation projects.

"This is additional to funding for the 60 schools which are part of the new five year property programme which will be extended to all schools by 2005. Those schools are developing agreements with the Ministry of Education to provide certainty of funding for all their property needs over the next five years.

“Our aim is to give schools certainty about when they will receive their capital funding for property .

"This year's programme will also deliver over 200 additional classrooms to support peak 2001 rolls for primary schools and peak 2002 rolls for secondary schools. The number of new classrooms needed in the coming year is down because while school rolls are still climbing, they are not growing at the burgeoning rate of recent years and the growth is now flowing into the secondary sector where there is generally more capacity.

"Site purchases for new schools will continue and a start will be made on the design and construction of six new schools to open by 2002. In total, $198 million will be spent on supporting growth, compared with $158 million last year."

Regular features of the programme will continue in 2000/01. Applications for the Financial Assistance Scheme will be invited shortly and allocations will be announced in October.

"The Government will support schools that are prepared to put their own money up front to help themselves, but not at the expense of centrally resourcing those that cannot,” Trevor Mallard said.

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