Revealed: The schools splashing cash on capital works

IN-DEMAND Brisbane State High School has spent as many millions on new and upgraded facilities in recent years as the state's most elite private schools, it can be revealed.

An exclusive analysis by The Courier-Mail of the most recent financial data from My School shows from 2015-2017 BSHS recorded $41.18 million in capital expenditure.

The figure was almost equal to exclusive boys school Anglican Church Grammar School with a recorded $41.23 million in expenditure, the highest in Queensland.

The big-ticket item was the new multi-level, state-of-the-art Kurilpa building, which was finished in June 2016 at a total cost of $38 million. 

With more than 3100 students, BSHS is consistently among the state's top-performing high schools in OP results and NAPLAN, with desperate parents reportedly resorting to address fraud to access the strict enrolment catchment.

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The school's capital spend over the three years was more than double that of the next government school, Kelvin Grove State College (KGSC), which recorded a spend of $15.15 million.

It was also higher than a number of elite private schools including All Hallows' School ($37.78 million), St Laurence's College ($28.55 million) and St Joseph's Nudgee College ($26.15 million).

Kelvin Grove State College’s Claudia Czerniawski, Aashay Tidke, Lucy Kelly and Millie Williams are benefiting from massive capital works investment. Picture AAPimage/David Clark
Kelvin Grove State College’s Claudia Czerniawski, Aashay Tidke, Lucy Kelly and Millie Williams are benefiting from massive capital works investment. Picture AAPimage/David Clark

QUEENSLAND'S TOP NAPLAN SCHOOLS REVEALED

A spokeswoman for the department of education said the State Government had continued to invest in BSHS to ensure it had the infrastructure to cater for both growth, and its innovative programs.

In more recent years the school received a $4.8 million investment for a 2020 Ready project, which included converting existing space into 17 modern science labs, the refurbishment of three science prep rooms and a conversion to create three new general learning areas.

The project was completed in January this year.

A concept drawing of the Ballet Academy facility under construction at Kelvin Grove State College and on track to open in six months’ time.
A concept drawing of the Ballet Academy facility under construction at Kelvin Grove State College and on track to open in six months’ time.

Meanwhile at KGSC a $17.7 million state-of-the-art Queensland Ballet Academy is underway, and due to be completed next year.

The school has also been allocated a further $21.4 million allocated for a new multi-purpose centre which will include 17 classrooms, a staff room, car park and three multi-purpose courts.

Education Minister Grace Grace said 13 new schools had been delivered since 2015, with eight more to be completed next year and a further five in 2021. New classrooms were also being added to existing schools across the state, with the 2019-20 state budget including $1.16 billion in capital expenditure.

Among schools set to open their doors in 2020 is the new Fortitude Valley State Secondary College, while expansions at West End State School and the Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology are also underway.

Ms Grace said the data presented some of the government's "significant investment" in school infrastructure, however figures would fluctuate

"There are some 2000 more classrooms in Queensland state schools today than there was in 2015, we have also delivered 33 new school halls and nine new performing arts centres," she said.

"But we are not about to rest on our laurels.

"There are also new classrooms being added to existing schools right across the state."

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said at private schools the majority of infrastructure costs - about 75 per cent - were met by parents both present and future.

"Independent schools take a long-term view of their capital needs and must plan, save and fundraise for years for significant capital projects," he said.

"Capital fundraising is a significant issue for smaller less well-resourced schools which do not have the same capacity or community from which to draw to raise funds for new or upgraded facilities.

"That is why the capital support provided by the Queensland Government and the Australian Government for non-state schools is so important to the sector and these schools."

 



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