$3M SHORTFALL: Schools crumbling under upkeep backlog

GRAFTON High School has one of the biggest maintenance backlogs on the North Coast, with more than $1.12 million of repairs lacking funds.

A freedom of information request by New South Wales Labor has revealed more than 40 North Coast schools are sharing in a $16 million repairs funding shortfall - part of a $732 million statewide backlog.

Maclean High School needs $587,000 and South Grafton High School has a $511,000 build-up of unfunded works.

Grafton High has 943 enrolments, making the funding log-jam average out to almost $1200 per student.

Across the state, 120 schools have individual upkeep backlogs of more than $1 million each.

Labor Leader Luke Foley said the State Government spent only $158 million on the backlog in 2014-15, even though it had grown by $195 million the previous year.

"The maintenance backlog is spiralling out control," he said.

"North Coast schools are being neglected while the government brawls with itself over how to spend billions on sporting stadiums in Sydney.

"Local schools need to be properly maintained to ensure the best environment for learning."

The Department of Education said it had greatly increased its school maintenance spend this financial year.

"Since 2011, the NSW Government has committed almost $4 billion to school infrastructure and maintenance, with over $342 million allocated in 2015-16 for school maintenance," a departmental spokesman said.

"On an asset portfolio of this size, worth more than $25 billion, it is not feasible to have no backlog maintenance.

"The Department of Education is focused on ensuring the backlog maintenance liability in our schools is kept as low as possible.

"The government will be providing additional funding support over the coming years to ensure that outstanding maintenance items are addressed in a timely manner and that our students and staff continue to be provided with educational facilities that meet contemporary teaching and learning requirements."

 

 

FACT BOX

 

WHAT OUR SCHOOLS NEED

 

Grafton High School - $1,125,892

Maclean High School - $587,000

South Grafton High School - $511,314

South Grafton Public School - $321,652

Maclean Public School - $268,138

Grafton Public School - $187,609



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