Government Announces Record Number of Financial Assistance Scheme Approvals

  • Wyatt Creech

A record number of schools have been given the go ahead for new property projects under the Financial Assistance Scheme, Education Minister Wyatt Creech announced today.

More than 1,200 property projects making a vast range of improvements to school buildings and grounds have been approved.

"Compared to 1997, three times as many projects worth over three times the amount of money will get underway in 1998.

"Under the Financial Assistance Scheme, the Government and the school community team up to fund both school environment and property projects. This scheme gives schools the opportunity to develop new projects that would not normally get Government funding.

"Many schools are very happy to contribute part if we at least match their share," Mr Creech said.

$12 million will pay for an array of extra work around schools such as environmental improvements in school grounds, swimming pools and projects which support Maori culture,'' said Mr Creech.

Included in this year's line-up is new school halls for eighty-nine primary schools, worth about $13 million.

``When eighty-nine new school halls are built, it won't be just the schools that will reap the benefit. These halls will be a community asset as well.

$17 million will pay for other general upgrades of school buildings where the school has identified these improvements as a priority.

The Financial Assistance Scheme is a feature of the Government works programme for schools for 1997/98. It complements the works programme which is providing school accommodation to meet roll growth, new works, and deferred maintenance, at full cost to the state.

"In essence, the scheme gives schools the chance to speed up work that would otherwise have to wait for full funding from the Government or to get facilities which are over and above what is required for the normal day to day running of the school,'' Mr Creech said.

``It is evidence of a partnership in action between schools, their communities and the Government for improving school accommodation."

Schools are being notified of the approvals from today.

"The Government recognises the commitment schools and their communities have to the financial assistance scheme and we are looking to fund the maximum extent possible'' Mr Creech concluded.