Almost 500 schools and preschools in South Australia will receive grants to undertake priority maintenance work, as part of a $32 million state government economic stimulus package to be rolled out this year.

The investment will see school and preschool sites across the state engage local tradespeople to undertake much needed maintenance work, supporting jobs and businesses in the wake of the coronavirus.

Education Minister John Gardner said the investment will provide a much needed boost for local schools, preschools and their communities.

“This $32 million investment will deliver long awaited works at many of our schools, support priority upgrades to our early years facilities and provide a vital income stream for small businesses and tradespeople across the state,” said Education Minister John Gardner.

“This builds on the record $1.3 billion capital works investment across our education system that will deliver a generational upgrade of school facilities across the state and provide vital jobs at a time when they are so sorely needed.

“Many families across South Australia will be excited to see much needed and long awaited maintenance occurring at their local school.

“Our preschools will also receive a fantastic boost with funding to deliver priority work at their site.”

The stimulus package is over and above the Education Department’s annual maintenance budget and forms another component of the state government’s plan to address the economic challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

The investment fast tracks $25 million for many long awaited upgrades at 116 government schools including roof replacements, bitumen replacements and structural repairs. Principals have been informed of the funding and the Education Department is working with those schools to undertake the works.

It will also see every preschool in the state receive a grant of $20,000, a total of $7.6 million, to engage local businesses and tradespeople to undertake maintenance work.

Preschool maintenance grants will be used at each site’s discretion for work including painting, flooring, landscaping, kitchen upgrades, storage replacement and shade structures. Projects will be identified and managed by site directors with support from the Department for Education as required.