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Government Injects $35 Million Into School Propert

MEDIA RELEASE
10 NOVEMBER 1999

GOVERNMENT INJECTS $35 MILLION INTO SCHOOL PROPERTY

Education Minister Nick Smith today announced that more than 1,300 school property improvement projects, ranging from upgraded classrooms to an auditorium, have been approved under the Financial Assistance Scheme.

"The Financial Assistance Scheme is part of Government's $371 million property works programme. It is a great way for schools to decide their own priorities and to get some Government assistance for projects that would not be a high priority in the annual capital works programme. It allows schools the flexibility to do something outside the square. The Aurora Centre at Burnside High School in Christchurch is an excellent example of a facility that will be a bigger asset to the community than the old school hall. The school and community have raised a massive $4 million for the centre and have received the maximum of $250,000 from the financial assistance scheme for the project as well as $540,000 from the capital works programme, the cost to upgrade the old hall. We need to encourage innovation and give our schools the flexibility to develop projects like this."

Under the Financial Assistance Scheme, the Government contributes at least 50 percent of the cost of the projects, up to a maximum of $250,000, with the rest funded by the school and community. This year, Government has contributed $35 million, up from $25 million last year, with schools and communities contributing over $30 million to their projects. The $371 million property works programme for schools for 1999/2000, also pays for school accommodation to meet roll growth, general upgrading and deferred maintenance, all at full cost to the state.

"Many schools are keen to take advantage of the flexibility of this scheme and jump at the opportunity to contribute part of the cost of a new project. Government is committed to working in partnership with schools and communities to continue to improve school property. We recognise that some schools have more difficulty in raising money in their local community than others, and we provide a higher level of assistance to low decile schools to compensate for this."

"This year ICT cabling projects were promoted, and I’m delighted that every one of those applications are approved. We are committing to ensuring every one of our schools are able to provide our young people with the skills to survive in the information age."

"Our schools have been transformed over the past decade to assets we can be really proud of. National is committed to giving schools more flexibility about how they use their space. This year, a new property guide was introduced for primary schools which will see a 48 percent increase in the space entitlement, with a commitment by Government to bring all schools up to the new standard by 2005. The emphasis is on choice ? it is up to schools to decide how to use their space to provide the best outcomes for students. We have also introduced a $10 million trial next year involving forty schools nationwide that will enable schools to fully self manage their own property." ENDS


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