Rachel Boyack. Photo:Supplied.

Nelson schools to get $6.5m

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Nelson schools will be getting a $6.5 million slice of the Government’s new funding for capital projects.

All schools will receive between $50,000 and $400,000 depending on the size of their roll.

Nelson’s state schools; Nelson College for Girls, Nelson College, Waimea College and Nayland College will all receive the full $400,000 investment.

All state primary and intermediate schools will receive between $50,000 and $400,000 depending on their roll size.

For example, Tahunanui School will receive $200,900, Stoke School will receive $185,031, Nayland Primary receives $282,744 and Nelson Central receives $327,096.

Labour’s Nelson Candidate Rachel Boyack says she is delighted at the $400m announcement from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the Labour Party Conference in Whanganui.

The Government has earmarked $400m for “much-needed” infrastructure investments.

Rachel says she will be visiting some Nelson schools before Christmas to find out about the projects they plan to invest in.

The school property projects the investment can be spent on include classroom upgrades, replacing roofing and guttering, upgrading storm water drainage systems, installing energy efficient heating and lighting and resurfacing outdoor courts and paved areas.

The overall funding package, which is the largest spend on school infrastructure in 25 years, works out to be roughly $700 per student and will benefit more than 2000 schools across the country.

The funds need to be spent within 24 months and the government wants schools to engage local tradespeople to carry out the work.

“It is fantastic news and a great windfall just before Christmas,” says Nayland College principal Daniel Wilson.

“We have several projects already in planning stages, particularly around renovating classrooms but also some infrastructure projects such as roof replacements.”

Chair of Victory School Helen Watson says it is great to have money coming back into the sector and that it was always difficult to prioritise what money was spent on.

“What we would like to do is focus on learning spaces for children, but that is not always possible. If we had more money in the system those upgrades of learning spaces could be fast tracked.”

Rachel says that in addition to improving the quality of educational facilities in Nelson, the investment will create jobs in the building and construction sector in Nelson over the next two years and provide an economic development injection into the region.

“Investing in our schools delivers for our kids and communities, through improved buildings for our kids to learn in, while also creating skilled jobs for the people of Nelson,” she says.

Jacinda Ardern said the spending package was a “real shot in the arm” for schools across the country.

“I’ve visited plenty of schools and I’d be hard-pressed to name one that didn’t have need. You hear horror stories about kids learning in damp, mouldy classrooms.”

According to Government figures, roughly 70 per cent of New Zealand schools have an average building age of more than 40 years.

For most of the schools, the extra funding represents a 40 per cent average increase over the next five years.