Ōtaki area state schools and kura are to get just over a million dollars in government funding to spend on infrastructure.
The money in a nationwide hand-out totalling $400 million will help schools with things such as upgrading and fixing classrooms, replacing roofing and guttering, and resurfacing paved areas.
Schools will not be the only beneficiaries. In announcing the funding, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the spend would be great for local tradespeople – “this is an opportunity for work at a local level in every town and city in the country”.
The package works out to be about $700 per student. Ōtaki schools receive a total of $1,040,886, which will need to be spent within the next two years.
Ōtaki College receives the lion’s share, with $313,236.
Principal Andy Fraser says the funding is “fantastic news”.
“It means we can update and maintain our buildings in a more timely manner.”
He says the college already has budget provisions for ongoing cyclical work, which includes painting and floor maintenance. During the past four years the college has increased its budget to allow for painting to be kept to a higher standard.
Ōtaki College opened in 1959 and has a roll of 452.
Ōtaki School principal Chris Derbridge says the $113,652 funding for his school was an unexpected windfall.
“It’s very exciting news for our school. And I know we will have no trouble spending the money,” he says. “I think our first priority will be to provide toilets in Whare Manaaki (the school hall). These are really needed because when we hold events there are no facilities available.”
He says the school will take a good look at its areas of need, in terms of infrastructure, priority and price, and then use the money wisely to get as much done as possible.
Ōtaki School first opened in 1880, though not on its current site. It has a roll of 164.
Waitohu School principal Maine Curtis says he’s delighted with the funding of $186,417 for his 269 students.
“Our spending priorities are developing junior classroom spaces and upgrading our toilet blocks,” he says. “The funding means we can continue our property development plans sooner than we’d anticipated.
“It will make a genuine difference at the school.”