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House: school repair bill to exceed $6m

The Bermuda Government has already spent more than $3 million on school maintenance and repairs, and is expected to spend at least another $3 million in the next fiscal year.

Wayne Scott, the Minister of Education, outlined the expenditures yesterday as he provided an update on the continuing work to upgrade and improve infrastructure at public schools across the island.

He also revealed that more than $1 million had been spent on painting the interior and exterior of ten schools in the 2015/2016 financial year.

“While $1.5 million of capital funds were budgeted for school works for the fiscal year 2015/2016, a revised estimate increased this to $3.5 million as the works got under way and the scope of work increased.

“As the works were essential to ensure that the schools were open for the new school year, savings were made in other capital accounts.”

The government-commissioned Score report highlighted widespread failings, including serious infrastructure problems, across the public primary school system.

It also outlined several scenarios to address the problems, including the potential closure of four schools — Heron Bay Primary School, St David's Primary School, Gilbert Institute and Prospect Primary School.

Mr Scott added: “The school's works project for fiscal year 2016/2017 is well under way.

“Departments from both the Ministry of Education and Public Works are continuing to co-ordinate their efforts in response to findings within the Score report. Over the Easter break crews worked overtime to hit as many of the target works as possible while our students were on break.

“Schools identified to be cleaned and painted internally this year include Devonshire Preschool, Warwick Preschool, St David's Primary School, Victor Scott Primary School, West End Primary School, Elliot Primary School and Purvis Primary School.”

Mr Scott told the House of Assembly that in 2016/2017, the maintenance work completed at government schools involved seven work units with more than 120 staff.

He said he anticipated that more than $3 million would be spent in this fiscal year by the Ministry of Public Works on government schools maintenance and repairs.

“Many of our schools are dated and require extensive maintenance and repairs,” Mr Scott added.

“They were designed and built for another era, one that did not envision air-conditioning, computers and smart boards.

“Most maintenance works cannot be completed when school is in session for health and safety reasons and, frankly, because they would be highly disruptive to learning.

“The majority of the works are therefore planned for and completed when students and school staff are out on vacation.”

Mr Scott pledged to make sure that the schedule of work on schools would be publicly available on the ministry's website — www.moed.bm — and would be updated regularly.

• For Mr Scott's statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

Outlining spending: Wayne Scott, the Minister of Education (File photograph)

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Published May 21, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated May 21, 2016 at 9:27 am)

House: school repair bill to exceed $6m

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