Manawatu schools are among a select few chosen to lead the way with a new property management scheme.
Starting next week, nearly 30 schools from Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Whanganui will be involved in the pilot scheme, which will look at the parameters schools should have in managing their properties.
At the moment school boards look after a lot of the day-to-day dealings when it comes to keeping school grounds and buildings tidy and ensuring facilities are kept modern and fresh, often hiring contractors to complete the work.
Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye said the pilot project, starting on Tuesday, would offer schools the ability to reduce their role in school property management.
It will look at the best approach to take when dealing with regular maintenance jobs, such as calling a local plumber to fix a leaky tap, right through to larger infrastructure upgrades, such as multimillion-dollar building improvements.
"The facilities management service is a voluntary service for schools and boards of trustees that want to step away from day-to-day property management," Kaye said.
The Ministry of Education programme would consider the best mix of services and likely costs that could be provided to maintain and improve school properties, she said.
The pilot will help identify maintenance needs and gather information by testing the services Manawatu schools use by monitoring the range, frequency and urgency of work they require.
The information and feedback given by schools from the pilot will then be used to consider the different options available.
Possible suggestions have included centrally procuring services for all schools, a wider rollout of facilities management services across all schools, developing a 12-month scheduled maintenance plan and 20-year asset expenditure forecasts for schools.
Kaye said the programme would help pinpoint how services could be delivered to free schools from the task of contract management, to save money over time, and to make sure property and facilities management was top quality.
The initiative is part of the Government's eight-point plan to ensure schools have "high-quality infrastructure".
In other school property changes coming in next week, more than 20 schools in the wider Manawatu will receive a tidy pay packet when leftover land and surplus school buildings go under the hammer.
Changes will see all the profits from selling spare school houses, old buildings and unused properties being put back into schools' coffers.
- Manawatu Standard
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