Christmas has come early for schools in Central Otago and Wanaka.
A one-off cash injection of up to $400,000 for state schools announced by the Government on Sunday came out of the blue for principals across the region.
Roxburgh Area School Principal Gary Pasco said it was ‘‘fantastic’’ to have the extra funding.
The school ‘‘really appreciated’’ the additional funding.
‘‘It will mean we can do more than we anticipated.’’
The Government said the extra funds were to be spent on property projects to be delivered over the next 12-24 months.
Mr Pasco said the school was planning to act on development over the next two years so the funding was ‘‘very good timing’.
‘‘It is really going to be good for our school,’’ he said.
Having extra funds of about $110,000 was “not an insignificant amount of money” and discussions would be taking place about how best to use it, Mr Pasco said.
Dunstan High School in Alexandra was receiving about $393,000 in new funding.
Principal Reece Goldsmith said it was “quite exciting”.
“For us it has come out of the blue, I had no inkling that the Government was going to announce it.”
The school was “really thrilled” to be receiving the funds but was interested to learn more about the details of how the funds would be provided, given building at schools involved extensive planning and permissions.
“But we are really excited. We think it will be great for our kids and our community. It feels like we have won the Lotto, almost,” Mr Goldsmith said.
Mt Aspiring School in Wanaka was receiving the maximum amount of $400,000 because of the number of pupils at the school.
Principal Wayne Bosley said the funding was “gratefully received” and would “certainly be of assistance” to the school.
It was “extremely timely” as the extra money could “dovetail” into developments it was already undertaking.
It was too early to comment on what exactly the funding would be used for, Mr Bosley said.
“I think it will certainly allow us to speed up the process in which that was planned for.”
Wanaka Primary School was also receiving the maximum amount of $400,000.
Principal Dr Wendy Bamford was ‘‘very interested’’ in what the funds could be used for ‘‘because our school needs to be reclad’’.
She was ‘‘very excited’’ about the announcement but wanted to clarify if the funds were for new upgrades that did not have funds allocated.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said in recent years many schools had to put off building projects and make do with patched-up classrooms and playgrounds.
‘‘This cash injection, to be administered by the Ministry of Education through existing planning processes, gives schools breathing room to catch up on deferred building work.
‘‘It’s a well-deserved early Christmas present for school communities,” he said.