CLOSE on $15 million will be spent by the Government on four Gisborne and East Coast schools.
Last month $6 million was approved for a new school for Te Karaka Area School on the former Waikohu College site and now Hicks Bay’s school Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kawakawa mai Tawhiti is on track to receive almost $6 million in a cash injection from the Ministry of Education later this year.
The ministry says it will fund a similar project at Cape Runaway’s Te Kura Mana Maori o Whangaparaoa and Gisborne’s only total Maori immersion school, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Uri a Maui on Nelson Road has a multimillion-dollar building project starting next term.
Hicks Bay’s Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kawakawa mai Tawhiti will spend its $6m on new facilities and “extra accommodation” for students from Year 1 to 13, the Ministry of Education said.
The upgrade will include a new primary block, administration block, the refurbishment of existing buildings and a new gymnasium complex.
Principal Campbell Dewes says his school was told the budget was around $6.9 million, with the school needing to contribute $1 million.
“It’s all set in stone. The amount of money is a reflection on our recent status as a secondary school in 2010 and our roll growth from 90 students to 125 since then.
“We’ve got a bit of our own money tucked under the mattress.
“We’ve also started applying to community funding agencies and we’re quietly confident that we’ll come up with the shortfall.
“We don’t move far without the ministry but we’re expected to come to the party.”
Once funding has been approved and the project has been tendered, they hope to “have a spade in the ground by September”.
The upgrade has come at a crucial time for the school, which has been struggling with an increase in students and a lack of facilities.
“It’s been a bit tight. We’ve had to spill into all sorts of nooks and crannies.
“But we’re pretty determined for a people who started 10 years ago on a marae.
“We’re not asking for anything that nobody else has got, and we deserve it.”
The restrictions have had little effect on the school’s success, however. Students achieved a 100 percent NCEA pass rate last year.
“You don’t have to be confined to buildings to have learning.
“But when those buildings come up, we’ll feel very proud.”
Plans to build Te Karaka Area School on the former Waikohu College site will forge ahead now the Government has approved extra funding.
Associate Education Minister Craig Foss announced last month a further $2.66 million for the redevelopment of Te Karaka Area School. This is on top of an earlier $3.6m allocation.
The new buildings will open late next year.
On the plans are three learning “pods” with areas made larger or smaller with the use of sliding glass doors.
The school will also move to ultra-fast broadband with new facilities to house its IT upgrade.
Gisborne’s Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Uri a Maui will start its multimillion-dollar building project next term. Extension work to the school will include a library, administration block and new classrooms for senior school students. There are also plans for a new gymnasium.