Cash for Buildings funding programme

The Cash for Buildings funding programme gives your school the option of receiving annual cash payments instead of new buildings. Once you are in the programme, we review your eligibility at set times. You can opt out of the programme.

Applying for Cash for Buildings funding

Schools generally have 2 funding programmes to increase their space:

If your school qualifies for funding through either of these programmes, you can choose to receive annual cash payments instead of building new space. To be eligible, your school will also need to have a good record of financial and property management.

You can use Cash for Buildings funding for any educational purpose. For example, you could:

  • buy computers or equipment for trades-related education
  • hire a part-time teacher
  • lease space, such as a community gym.

You continue to receive payments until your school is no longer eligible for the space or you opt out of the programme.

To apply for Cash for Buildings funding, contact your local property advisor.

Calculating Cash for Buildings funding

We calculate Cash for Buildings funding by multiplying the amount of new area (square metres) your school is entitled to by a ‘conversion rate’.

The conversion rate averages the per year cost of providing one square metre of space over 40 years. This includes site works, construction, furniture and equipment, maintenance and modernisation.

The table shows how the conversion rate varies by school type.

Conversion rates for calculating Cash for Buildings funding

Type of school

Conversion rate $/m2

Primary

132

Intermediate (Years 7–8)

147

Composite (Years 1–13)

145

Restricted composite (Years 7–10)

155

Secondary (Years 7–15)

157

Secondary (Years 9–15)

162

Specialist classroom

163

After you enter the programme, the conversion rate is inflation-adjusted every 3 years.

Reviewing your eligibility for Cash for Buildings funding

We review schools in the Cash for Buildings programme periodically to check they are still eligible for the cash payments. For example, if your school’s roll declines, you may no longer be entitled to new building space.

We first review your eligibility when you enter your second 5 Year Agreement (5YA) after you enter the programme. After that, we review it at each 5YA renewal, as the timeline illustrates.

A school's eligibility for Cash for Buildings funding

A school's eligibility for Cash for Buildings funding is not reviewed at its first 5YA, but is reviewed at its following 5YA.  The conversion rate is reviewed every 3 years.

Leasing property with Cash for Buildings funding

You can use Cash for Buildings funding to lease property.

Leases with a total value below $250,000

After we have approved Cash for Buildings funding, you can negotiate and manage lease agreements that are likely to have a total value below $250,000 over the term of the lease. This includes rent payments and other lease costs.

It is important that any lease agreement includes adequate protection for your school. In particular:

  • leases must include rights of renewal or exit clauses that line up with your school’s 5YA renewal dates (in this way, if your roll declines so that you are no longer eligible for funding at the 5YA review, you can exit the lease)
  • as the cash payments are only adjusted for inflation, you must make sure that the rent review provisions are reasonable and equitable.

When negotiating the lease agreement, you should get your own legal advice.

The Ministry must approve all lease agreements before they come into effect. We may reject leases if they do not meet these requirements.

Leases with a total value over $250,000

If the lease value is likely to be above $250,000 over its term, we will manage the lease. Our lease will include an exit clause, so you will still be able to exit the lease when your 5YA is renewed.

For more information about leases, contact your local Ministry office.

Leaving the Cash for Buildings programme

You can opt out of the Cash for Buildings programme. If you are still eligible for additional space, you can opt out of the programme in any year and take your space entitlement instead.

However, if you have used the funding to enter into a lease agreement, you can only opt out of the programme if you can also exit the lease agreement. 

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