The schools infrastructure package announced by the government at the end of last year has been roundly welcomed by local Principals. For most schools this represents an average funding increase of 40% over a five year period. All up, that's about $400 million extra for schools, a huge boost that makes me proud to be part of the government.
Just prior to this announcement, we learned that an additional $26 million in funding was allocated to fix leaky buildings at Lynfield College. The existing administration block will be rebuilt and a new block of 30 classrooms will replace those that have ongoing weather tightness issues. My colleague, Mt Roskill MP Michael Wood, and I have been advocating for this since we were first elected two years ago so I was very pleased to learn that this problem will be fixed.
The amount schools receive is mostly determined by roll size. Schools will get $693 per student up to a maximum of $400,000, but will receive a minimum of 50,000 for maintenance regardless. Schools in the New Lynn electorate will receive a total of $4.4 million. This funding can be used to replace (rather than repair) things like guttering and roofs, upgrade school grounds and rooms and put in more energy efficient heating for schools.
The package is also intended to benefit local businesses and communities by creating smaller scale projects that give work to local tradies and building companies. Arahoe School is entitled to the maximum grant of $400,000 and I understand that a local firm has been contracted to expand its upgrade programme, to reconfigure and re-clad five classrooms.
This type of investment supports the economy by spreading the wealth and helping to future-proof it against economic shocks. It’s also a huge boost for the students and staff whose learning and teaching conditions will be greatly enhanced.