The rising cost of keeping schools warm is forcing some
Dunedin principals to cut spending in other areas.
Otago Primary Principals' Association president Brent
Caldwell said schools took creative steps to keep the cost of
heating down. Such moves included using energy consultants to
broker better energy rates, using time clocks on boilers,
timer-controlled wall heaters and heating according to the
Nonetheless, this year's long winter meant those steps were
still not enough for some Dunedin schools.
Andersons Bay School principal Hamish Rutherford said its
$4100 coal budget blew out in winter to $5100.
The early start to winter and the cold weather throughout
spring meant the school was running heating longer. The
school's electricity bills were up and a growing roll had
contributed to higher energy costs, Mr Rutherford said.
"It is always tricky meeting ends with our operating budget,
but we do not want the children getting cold."
Next year, the school would have to cut funding for new
assets to cover this year's shortfall.
Mr Caldwell said energy costs had increased and Ministry of
Education operations funding struggled to keep up with rising
The ministry adjusted schools' energy funding based on
However, it had indicated this form of funding was not
sustainable in the long term.
"Many of our schools do not enjoy modern buildings and rely
on less-than-efficient systems.
"The operations grant allocations for heat, light and power
should be reflective of the real and actual costs faced by
schools," Mr Caldwell said.
- Cameron Carpenter