28 Jan 2011

$1.5b to fix leaky schools

7:02 pm on 28 January 2011

The bill for fixing leaky schools in New Zealand looks set to be $1.5 billion.

Education Minister Anne Tolley revealed the estimated cost of the repair job and says she does not yet know where the Government will find that money.

The minister says the exact cost and size of the problem will not be known until a $22 million investigation, announced in last year's Budget, is completed. So far 157 schools are known to have leaky buildings.

For now, based on a 2009 study of 200 Auckland schools, Mrs Tolley's office estimates it will cost about $1.5 billion to fix leaky classrooms.

Mrs Tolley says the Government will seek to recover some costs through the courts, where someone can be found to take a case against.

The Principals' Federation fears the money will have to come from within existing budgets within the Ministry of Education.

President Peter Simpson says he is worried that schools will have to sacrifice making their buildings more modern.

The bill for fixing Mt Albert Grammar School's 24 leaky classrooms is about $7 million.

Headmaster Dale Burden says that money is a waste of funding that could have been used to made classrooms better instead of playing catch-up.

Pomaria School principal Kevin Choromanski says dealing with leaky buildings is distracting from teaching and learning.