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NSW schools face delays in spending money they have earned

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A new NSW Auditor-General's report on sharing school and community facilities says there are "significant delays" in approving $56 million worth of projects that schools will pay for themselves with money raised through leasing their playgrounds and classrooms to community groups.

More than 700 projects that public schools will pay for with their own fundraising money are stuck in a backlog in the NSW Department of Education, with some schools waiting more than a year for approval to spend their money.

Most of the highest-earning schools make their money through weekend markets but the audit report says others, such as Sydney Boys High at Moore Park, rely on special event car parking as a major source of funds.

The 20 schools earning the most through their own efforts collectively raised more than $4 million during 2016 with Lane Cove West topping the list at $412,000, followed by Bondi Beach at $360,000 and Randwick taking in $269,000.

But the report says there are a substantial number of school-funded projects in each school district awaiting approval. Comparatively few have been approved. Projects over $30,000 need to go to tender.

A spokesman for the department said it had accepted all the auditor-general's recommendations in the report, including to improve support to principals to reduce the backlog of school-initiated infrastructure proposals awaiting approval.


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