Principal concerned run-down schools 'not prioritised' in new education funding

A school principal in Porirua is concerned that new funding allocated to upgrade and build new classrooms hasn't been prioritised for schools that need it.

The Government announced on Thursday it is investing $164 million towards school upgrades, with North Island schools given $132 million. Education Minister Chris Hipkins estimates 7500 students will benefit from the funding.

Hipkins said the Government will put relocatable classrooms into some schools because of the need to "move really quickly" due to how fast the roll is growing in those areas.

But that urgency hasn't come for Natone Park School in Porirua, its principal Daryl Aim says.

"A piece of plywood has been put over black mould," Aim said.

Windows are also rotting and the floor needs replacing.

He said he's talking to the Ministry of Education about other funding, but he doesn't believe it will be enough.

"I do question when we have got schools in the state that Natone is that we are not prioritised."

But students and teachers at Wairarapa's Greytown School welcomed the $6 million in funding it is receiving.

The money will replace dilapidated classrooms at the small school. Greytown School principal Patrice O'Connor said one block of five classrooms is over 100 years old, and when it rains it leaks.

"They're too hot in the summer, they're too cold in the winter, they're leaking and we're constantly spending a lot of the Ministry's money on repair jobs," O'Connor said.

The new education funding announced on Thursday includes:

  • $29 million to expand three Auckland schools
  • $30 million for Bay of Plenty schools
  • $12 million to build new classrooms in Tai Tokerau, Waikato, Gisborne, and Otaki
  • $55 million to build 168 short-term classrooms to cope with growing student numbers.

On Friday, an announcement will be made for the South Island's $32 million funding.