The Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli and Member for Oatley Mark Coure today announced NSW public schools can now apply for grants to improve facilities.
Mr Piccoli said $10 million was provided in last month’s Budget, which is the first allocation of the $40 million, four-year fund to fix and replace facilities in poor condition as identified by principals and school communities.
“The Liberal & Nationals Government is honouring its election commitments because we must tackle the maintenance liability and infrastructure backlog left by the previous Labor Government,” said Mr Piccoli.
“Through this program, schools can apply for grants of up to $200,000 to improve facilities.
Mr Coure welcomed the extra money and encouraged schools in the St George region to apply for funding.
“Schools can apply now and I encourage them to contact the Department of Education and Communities to assist in selecting their priorities,” said Mr Coure.
“This is a great opportunity to address Labor’s maintenance backlog.
“A school can apply for full or partial funding for a large project or a set of smaller projects.
Each of the Department’s 10 regions has a local regional reference group, made up of local principals and Departmental staff, which will assess applications. Schools will be notified of the outcome of the application in early December, in time for work to begin over the January holidays.
Schools can self-manage work which can be undertaken by a local contractor or the maintenance contractor. Schools that choose not to self-manage can request that the Regional Asset Management Unit in the Department deliver projects.
In addition to the $40 million program, schools will also have access to a $20 million extra maintenance fund, also announced in the September State Budget.
The extra maintenance works will total $20 million over two years, which includes $5 million in 2011/12 and $15 million in 2012/13. All schools will be entitled to extra minor maintenance funds based on a standard school maintenance formula.
The Government has decided to bring forward $10 million of extra maintenance spending into next year’s budget to begin to tackle the maintenance backlog left by the previous Government.
The same local regional reference group will determine the priority order for schools to receive funding in either the first or second year of the program.
“Once funding is provided to a school, the principal, in consultation with their school community, will identify projects to be undertaken and select the providers who offer the best value for money to carry out the work,” said Mr Coure.
Schools will able to engage local providers to carry out the work or have their General Assistant carry out the work provided the work is within the General Assistant Statement of Duties. Schools will also be able to request the assistance of the regional Asset Management Unit to deliver the work.
In 2011/12, The Liberal & Nationals Government is spending $640 million on new and continuing capital works projects in NSW public schools and $289 million on school maintenance.