Twelve state schools in St George and Sutherland Shire required maintenance costing more than $1 million in mid 2015

Maintenance backlog: Kogarah High School tops the list in southern Sydney, with maintenance costs estimated at $1.64 million. Picture: Chris Lane
Maintenance backlog: Kogarah High School tops the list in southern Sydney, with maintenance costs estimated at $1.64 million. Picture: Chris Lane

Twelve state schools in St George and Sutherland Shire have something in common.

All had a maintenance backlog of more than $1 million, as at June 30, 2015.

Maintenance backlog: Greg McLean (left), Adam Searle, Maryanne Stuart and Christine Askew. Picture supplied

Maintenance backlog: Greg McLean (left), Adam Searle, Maryanne Stuart and Christine Askew. Picture supplied

The State Opposition says maintenance cost estimates for schools throughout NSW, obtained under freedom of information laws, “reveal the full extent of our crumbling schools”.

However, the state government said it inherited the backlog from Labor, while the Education Department denied work needed to be done urgently.

The work requirements range from toilet upgrades, carpet replacement and painting to fixing roofs and gutters and replacing windows.

Kogarah High School topped the list in southern Sydney, with maintenance costs estimated at $1.64 million.

Following it were:

- Hurstville Public School, $1.52 million.

- Kingsgrove North Public School, $1.49 million.

- Beverly Hills Girls High School, $1.45 million.

- Port Hacking High School, $1.41 million.

- Kingsgrove High School, $1.36 million.

- Miranda Public school, $1.36 million.

- Lucas Heights Community School, $1.28 million.

- Peakhurst Public School, $1.25 million.

- St George Girls High School, $1.17 million.

- Moorefield Girls High School, $1.04 million.

- Sylvania Heights Public School, $1.04 million.

Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council Adam Searle released details at Heathcote High School, where repairs were costed at $256,565.

Mr Searle was joined by Labor spokeswoman for the Heathcote electorate, Maryanne Stuart, and Greg McLean and Christine Askew, whose children attended state schools in the area.

Statewide analysis showed 120 schools had an individual maintenance backlog of more than $1 million.

Mr Searle, said under the Coalition government, the school maintenance backlog has surged.

He said the NSW Auditor-General reported, between 2013-14 and 2014-15, the maintenance backlog jumped $195 million in one year, which was more than 36 per cent.

“In 2014-15, the state government spent just $158 million on the school maintenance backlog,” he said.

Ms Stuart said schools in the Heathcote electorate were in need of an urgent cash injection.

“The government isn’t keeping up with the repairs bill and the reality is many local schools will never be up to scratch under [Heathcote MP] Lee Evans and the Liberals.”

An education Department spokesman said projected expenditure, or “backlog”, was not a list of work needing immediate attention.

“It represents a budget allocation to bring parts of buildings nearing the end of life back to new, and full projected expenditure may not be required,” he said.

“Maintenance affecting teaching and learning is treated as a priority, as is work needed to ensure the well being of students and staff.

“With more than 2200 NSW public schools attended by over 790,000 students, maintenance is ongoing and prioritised in consultation with local principals, with an annual program of works developed for each individual school.”

Acting Education Minister Leslie Williams said the previous Labor government left behind a school infrastructure and maintenance backlog liability of almost a billion dollars.

Since coming to office in 2011, the Coalition had committed almost $4 billion to school infrastructure and maintenance, including  23 new or relocated public schools and 50 major projects.

“The $1 billion Rebuilding NSW Schools Fund will provide up to 1600 new or refurbished classrooms across NSW.”

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