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400 schools receive $100m to improve property

400 schools receive $100m to improve property

Four hundred schools are to receive $100 million in funding to upgrade and modernise existing school buildings, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

"Our government is committed to high education standards across the board for young New Zealanders,” Helen Clark said.

“Providing modern, up-to-date, enjoyable and safe learning environments is essential for students. As a government, we are also keen to ensure that schools are attractive, modern and well maintained assets for local communities.

"These schools are the last to join the five-year property programme. All up, all state non-integrated schools will have had access to property funding worth more than $700 million in total.

“The government has made education a top priority for investment because we want to ensure that all New Zealanders have the opportunity to succeed,” Helen Clark said.

The schools which entered the programme when it started in 2000 will enter a new five-year funding cycle next year.

In addition to the school property programme the government separately funds new schools and classrooms to meet growth in student numbers.

Helen Clark today visited Papatoetoe College in Auckland, which is receiving more than $1 million to upgrade and rebuild property. Trevor Mallard called at two Wellington schools which will also benefit in this funding round.

Trevor Mallard said the five-year property programme began in July 2000, and had been progressively rolled out to all New Zealand state, non-integrated schools, providing them with the necessary capital to upgrade existing property. "Schools have funding certainty because of this programme so they can make sensible long-term decisions around their property planning. For example, they might forgo some maintenance expenditure on buildings because they have the money to upgrade them instead. That means they can make the most out of their capital and maintenance budgets. The capital budgets provided to schools take into account the overall state of their property and the amount of capital that has been spent at the school in the past. Schools that have not received as much funding previously receive a larger budget than schools that had previously received a lot of capital. "The programme is ongoing, so that once one five-year funding cycle ends, the next will begin," Trevor Mallard said.

Below is a fact sheet on schools’ property funding.

Schools Property: 2004 fact sheet

The government is investing nearly $350 million in 2004/05 for new spending on new schools, new classrooms and other school buildings, bringing total property funding to $1 billion.

The money will fund property projects to meet roll growth, health and safety and modernisation work, to ensure schools have enough buildings according to their roll size and to support other education initiatives, for example computer network infrastructure or workspace for social workers in schools.

The government is committed to creating sufficient capacity to support roll growth as well as improving the existing school environment through providing the right mix of property, quality and quantity.

New Schools Four new schools will open in Auckland at the start of next year at a cost of $90 to $100 million.

New Classrooms 100 new classrooms will be catered for this year, costing about $20 million. The extra 100 classrooms will mean almost all of the roll growth in primary and secondary schools, which is projected for the next twelve to eighteen months, is catered for.

Five-Year Property Programme The five-year property programme started in 2000 with the objective of giving every board of trustees by 2004 a long-term, inflation adjusted budget so that they can make the best long-term property decisions for their school. This means every school can now be spending money on upgrading land and buildings, rather than waiting in a queue which was the case prior to 2000. Schools can now decide themselves which property projects are priorities.

$432 million in property funding has been distributed to 1665 schools under the programme so far.

Another 400 schools are now joining the programme and will receive $100 million between them. They are the final schools to join, so this year completes the roll-out process.

$700 million in total will be available for the five-year property programme over the next five years. As each school comes to the end of its five-year funding, it can look forward to entering the next five-year property programme.

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