MEDIA RELEASE - NSW Government failing: Hunter schools under resourced

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has joined Hunter MPs to highlight the growing overcrowding and increasing maintenance backlogs at the region’s public schools.

Documents obtained under freedom of information show that 93 schools across the Hunter are at 100 per cent capacity or higher (see below).

Wiripaang Public School is packed to the rafters at over double its capacity, while many schools in the region are over capacity and filled with demountable classrooms, like Maitland Grossmann High School (103 per cent), as they struggle to house their students.

Parents across the Hunter have been told by schools, that despite individual circumstances and siblings attending them, their children cannot be enrolled due to overcrowding.

The NSW Government has fallen so far behind in delivering new classrooms across NSW that at the current rate it will take at least 45 years to reach the expected number of classrooms needed in 15 years.

Hunter schools have also seen a significant increase in their maintenance backlogs, with the total backlog for the region now over $100 million.

Maitland has one of the highest backlogs in the region, worth $13.8 million. Rutherford High School and Maitland High School need cash injections of almost $2 million each.

The NSW Auditor General recently reported that the school maintenance backlog across NSW had increased by $43 million to $775 million in the past year and that “funding is not keeping pace with the growth in school maintenance needs”.

The NSW Government allocated just $115 million a year on school maintenance or just over 14 per cent of the total backlog.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Across the region, schools are overcrowded and playgrounds are full of demountable classrooms - Gladys Berejiklian must step in.

“If we can’t bring our schools up to scratch now - with the rivers of gold flowing in from stamp duty revenue – then when can we?”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Hunter Kate Washington

“The maintenance backlog in the Hunter is not for luxury items in schools, it’s for basic things like heaters and fans that don’t work, taps that leak, peeling paint and threadbare carpets.

“Hunter teachers and students need well-maintained facilities to create the best learning environments.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison

“Schools like Maitland Grossmann High School need a cash injection to ease the massive overcrowding.

“I’ve received scores of concerning letters from parents who can’t enrol their child into the school that their siblings already attend, or that is most convenient.”

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