Air con still possible for schools that missed out
Three Maitland schools have missed the threshold for automatically qualifying for air conditioning under the NSW Government’s Cooler Classrooms Fund.
On Monday almost 20 local schools were announced as recipients of new or upgraded air conditioning units as part of a revised government policy.
Previously only schools where the average maximum January temperature was above 33 degrees qualified, but earlier this year that was lowered to 30 degrees making a slew of Maitland schools applicable, including Gillieston, Bolwarra and Metford public schools.
Thornton, Woodberry and Millers Forest public schools were the only Maitland schools not to make the list, falling below the threshold.
Schools that fall below the 30 degree mark are able to apply for funding on a needs basis.
An Education Department spokesperson said that all three schools were considering the next round, where the design of the school and the impacts of temperature and humidity on comfort would be assessed if they choose to apply.
While Thornton and Woodberry already have air conditioned classrooms, the program also extends to libraries.
Yesterday Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald visited Metford Public School off the back of the announcement. The school’s classrooms and library are already air conditioned, however the equipment is aging.
“Up until now the P and C has been expected to pay,” Mr MacDonald said.
“It was a financial and resources issue for the government – do you build new schools or spend money on air con?
“We’re now in the position where we can do both – we can afford to do it now.”
No timeline has been locked in for the rollout, with successful schools to be assessed for the capacity of their electrical infrastructure, the condition of existing systems and any heritage considerations before work begins.