New schools and expansion of existing schools in Gungahlin have been prioritised in the 2020-21 ACT budget, with heaving inner north and inner south schools largely missing out.
Education spending makes up 23 per cent of total expenses for this financial year but there were no surprises in where the funding was allocated.
A new 800-place high school in Kenny is set to open its doors in 2023. Construction will cost $85.9 million and a further $11 million will be spent on supporting infrastructure including roads, pathways and bus bays.
Margaret Hendry School in Taylor will expand, with work starting this year. The expected cost of the expansion has not been revealed before the government goes out to tender, but $1 million will go towards developing the master plan and tender-ready design work.
A further $2 million will go towards design work for a new high school in Taylor. The school will have 800 permanent places for year 7 to 10 students with potential for up to 1000 on the site but cost of construction is unknown before the tender process.
Campbell Primary School and Narrabundah College will benefit from upgrades to their aging buildings while energy-efficient heating upgrades will be rolled out across the ACT public school system.
The focus continues to be on the new suburbs in Gungahlin, building on current projects including a new primary school in Throsby, a high school at Denman Prospect and expanding the Franklin Early Childhood School, the Amaroo School Senior Campus and Gold Creek School Senior Campus.
Meanwhile $17 million was spent on transportable classrooms for 12 existing public schools.
The government will spend $888,000 on scholarships for teachers to do a teacher librarian master degree to address a shortage of librarians across ACT schools. Up to 10 scholarships will be allocated over five years to 2025.
Priority families who have access to free early education for their 3-year-old will now be able to attend 48 weeks a year, up from 40 weeks. The scheme will eventually be rolled out to all families, in line with the ACT Early Childhood Strategy.
The Jobs for Canberra COVID-19 stimulus initiative, a switch to insourcing school cleaners and increased student enrolments, led to a boost in the number of full time equivalent staff in the Education Directorate. There were 6072 full-time equivalent staff in 2019-20, while the 2020-21 budget estimates 6320 staff.