Back­log: St Marys Se­nior High heads schools short­fall list

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Jil­lian McKee Elisha Pearce

SCHOOLS in the Mt Druitt and St Marys re­gion are $14 mil­lion in main­te­nance ar­rears. The NSW La­bor Party re­vealed the fund­ing short­fall af­ter re­quest­ing in­for­ma­tion from the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act.

St Marys Se­nior High tops the lo­cal list with $1.23 mil­lion of out­stand­ing works. Some of the back­log in­cluded re­place­ment of floor cov­er­ings and stormwa­ter works. Mt Druitt state La­bor MP Ed­mond Atalla said “it sim­ply isn’t good enough”.

SCHOOLS in Mt Druitt and St Marys re­gion are wait­ing for at least $14 mil­lion of re­pair works to be done.

A main­te­nance back­log list, ob­tained by the NSW Op­po­si­tion, gives the dol­lar amount of main­te­nance work each school needs to be brought up to new-school stan­dard and is cal­cu­lated each year. The re­leased amounts are ac­cu­rate from June 30, 2015.

The com­bined bill across NSW is $732 mil­lion, with more than 400 schools wait­ing on more than $500,000 of works to be com­pleted – 13 of them in Mt Druitt and St Marys.

St Marys Se­nior High School tops the lo­cal list with $1.23 mil­lion in main­te­nance work wait­ing to be done.

Two Chi­fley Col­lege cam­puses also are wait­ing on more than $1 mil­lion in works: Bid­will Cam­pus is listed at $1.2 mil­lion while the Dun­heved Cam­pus needs $1.04 mil­lion of work.

St Clair High is wait­ing for $920,874, Rooty Hill High $795,195, and Tregear Pub­lic $699,559. The Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment stated works in­cluded in the out­stand­ing main­te­nance in­cluded “paint­ing, re­pair or re­place­ment of floor cov­er­ings, play­ground works and stormwa­ter or sew­er­age projects”.

The depart­ment noted it was not “fea­si­ble” to have no back­log of main­te­nance. “The Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment is fo­cused on en­sur­ing the back­log main­te­nance li­a­bil­ity in our schools is kept as low as pos­si­ble,’’ a spokesman said.

Rooty Hill High School prin­ci­pal Chris­tine Cawsey said she was pleased with the work in the last cou­ple of years by the Mt Druitt schools as­set man­age­ment unit.

She said the school re­ceived about $66,000 of works per year re­cently, which al­lowed it to bring three blocks of classes up to stan­dard. She said an in­jec­tion of $795,000 would put them in a “very good place”.

Chi­fley Col­lege Bid­will prin­ci­pal Mark Burnard said he would wel­come more fund­ing.

“We’ve got work com­ing up on gen­eral things like roof­ing and gut­ter­ing and some ad­di­tional main­te­nance in the gym,” he said.

Com­pound­ing the prob­lem of main­te­nance back­logs in NSW schools is new Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics data show­ing cap­i­tal works spend­ing is lower than it has been since 2005.

We could get the rest of the school up to the level we need Chris­tine Cawsey

Pic­ture: Phil Rogers

Lisa D'An­gelo with sons Thomas and Matthew who both at­tend Hassall Grove Pub­lic School.

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