Ballina school in planning with $40m in state budget

PLANNING will start on Ballina's new super school with $40 million set aside for the purpose in 2015-16, out of $300 million under the state government's 10-year Regional Schools Renewal program.

The election commitment for the new high school will be one of four that planning will start on in 2015-16, while a further $205 million will go to new schools or substantial upgrades at 11 other schools.

Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said the funds would form part of $1 billion reserved for education projects under the state's Rebuilding New South Wales program released in Tuesday's budget.

The remaining $700 million of that fund would go towards a similar 10-year 'Future Focused Schools program', while the government will spend another $48 million on new scholarships.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said the 2015-16 budget included $507 million in extra Gonski funds, including $224 million over four years to improve teacher standards; $167 million for 236 more counsellors and wellbeing support in public schools.

The state's total education reaches $12.4 billion this year, or about 39% of the total NSW budget for 2015-16.

Students aged 15 to 30 years old would be able to access one of 200,000 fee-free scholarships to study at government-subsidised VET certificate courses, with priority to concession-card eligible social housing residents.

A further $25 million will provide up to 25,000 $1000 scholarships for students in courses in "technology-based industries" and $8 million over four years for young people in regional areas to get into education, training or jobs.

State-wide, the government will also pour $2 billion into the TAFE Commission to expand skills-based training, focussing on up-skilling the state's most disadvantaged.



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