Board funding for property projects

Find information about when you can use board funding for school property projects, and what you need to do to apply for Ministry consent.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Administrators

Boards must have Ministry consent and meet all of the Ministry’s criteria before using board funds to build or buy property for your school. There are additional requirements for transferring ownership, or buying a private house detailed in this guidance. 

About board funding

Board funding (or ‘discretionary funding’) comes from funding sources such as fundraising, grants from trusts and community groups, and bequests. It can also include surplus operational funding.

You may wish to use board funding to buy or build property, or to expand the scope of a Ministry-funded project that we won't fund because:

  • it will provide more or different property than your school is entitled to under the School Property Guide (SPG)
  • the community wishes to contribute to a facility for both your school and the wider community to use.

When you can use board funding

Subject to Ministry consent you can use board funding to:

  • buy a building (that's fit for educational purpose) and move it onto a school site
  • build a new building on the school site
  • build a facility on the school site jointly with the community, or local council such as a sports complex, or swimming pool
  • contribute to or fully funded upgrading or remodelling of a building
  • buy additional land, like a sports field
  • build facilities, like playgrounds and bike tracks that will benefit the school and community
  • lease a property for school use.

 Paying the upfront and ongoing costs of board funded property

Ministry consent is required

Boards must apply for Ministry consent before buying, leasing or licencing land with board funding. This applies to both board-funded and Ministry-owned land.

Section 160, Education and Training Act 2020 — NZ Legislation website(external link)

To apply you must complete the following application form and send it to your property advisor.

Application form for Ministry consent: Board or Third Party Funded Property [DOCX, 58 KB]

Criteria for Ministry consent

You must meet all the following 4 criteria before we will give you consent to buy land, build on the school site, or bring a board-purchased building (that is fit for educational purpose) onto the school site.

1. Educational benefits

The additional property must bring educational benefits to the school by helping to deliver the curriculum.

2. Network considerations

We consider network criteria to ensure fairness to other schools and retain space for any future in-zone growth. The intent of criteria around the wider network is that:

a. any proposed board-funded property (including teaching space) does not cater for out-of-zone students

b. any proposed board-funded property does not constrain our ability to effectively use the school’s site and overall schooling network in future.

3. Financial status

a. You must have accounting advice from the financial advisor at your local Ministry office, and seek your own legal advice if necessary, to support your case for acquiring the property. The financial advisor will review the financial situation of your school and make an assessment as to whether you can afford the cost of the project from your board funds.

b. If you want to use surplus operational funding you must be able to show all the operational needs of the school are met.

c. If you're borrowing, you must meet all the borrowing requirements contained in the Financial Information for Schools Handbook.

4. Property standards

a. Any cost to upgrade a building to comply Ministry design and health and safety standards will be met from board or community funds.

b. The additional property can continue to be maintained to Ministry standards using only board and/or community funding.

c. You must provide a Design Certificate signed by an appropriately qualified consultant such as an architect and engineer, as a pre-requisite for Ministry approval.

d. You must submit a report from an appropriately qualified consultant (for example, an engineer or registered building surveyor) for any building you are considering buying for relocation onto site. The consultant must use the Fit for Purpose Assessment Form [PDF, 573 KB].

e. If consent is granted, the additional property must be added in your school's Computer-Aided Design (CAD). You must provide an Asset Update Form, Observation Certificate and Occupancy Use Certificate to the Ministry on completion of the project. These can be found under Project Management Forms.


Paying the upfront and ongoing costs of board funded property 

When you build or buy something with board funds, you must pay all the ongoing costs including maintenance, capital upgrades, insurance and operational costs.

If you shared building costs with the Ministry and/or community, you also share the ongoing costs based on ownership percentages. This is shown in the following table.

Responsibilities for ongoing costs of property depending on ownership.


Board discretionary funds


You must use board funding to pay for all ongoing costs including maintenance, capital upgrades, insurance and operational costs.

Partly board, partly Ministry funding

Board and Ministry

We will contribute funding to ongoing costs in proportion to our ownership. You must pay your share from board funding.

Partly board and partly community funding with the community retaining a share of ownership

Board and community

You must pay your share from board funding. The community must contribute to costs in proportion to its level of ownership. The community’s share must be recorded in the appropriate Ministry lease agreement.

Community funding on school land


The community must pay all the costs associated with the facility, like a sports arena.
The community’s ownership and responsibilities must be recorded in the appropriate Ministry lease agreement.



Note: Refer to our Leasing or hiring your school land and buildings page for more on lease agreements.

Leasing or hiring your school land and buildings to third parties

Weathertightness exception

If you have a board funded building with weathertightness failure (leaking), we may help with funding to fix it.

Weathertightness remediation

Insuring board funded property

You should insure board-funded property. We won't replace it if it's damaged or destroyed. If we have part ownership, we'll insure our portion through the School Building Insurance Funding programme.

School Building Insurance Funding programme

Transferring a board owned building to the Ministry

Boards can ask to transfer ownership of a Board-owned building to the Ministry. The Ministry may purchase in whole, or in the case of a jointly-owned building between us and a board, we may buy your portion to complete full ownership.

Boards can transfer ownership:

  • to make up space if you have less space than you're entitled to under an approved Non-Teaching Space (NTS) programme
  • if you obtain Ministry approved funding for a New teaching space.


  • Unless we agree to transfer them, board-funded classrooms don't count as part of your teaching space entitlement because they're not Ministry-funded.
  • If the building you want to transfer is jointly owned by you and us, we'll only buy your portion. We won't pay for any property we originally funded.
  • You keep ownership of any area of the building that's over your SPG entitlement.

Applying to transfer

To apply to transfer board property to us:

1. Notify us in writing that you wish to sell us your board-owned property.
2. engage a qualified consultant to do a condition assessment of the building or services, using the Fit for Purpose Assessment Form [PDF, 573 KB] and pay all assessment expenses.

We'll assess your application and advise you if we agree to accept its transfer.

Upgrading a building that is transferred to the Ministry

If we agree to the transfer, you'll  have to decide what upgrades are needed to make the building fit for its new use and/or meet Ministry standards. We'll agree a project budget for you under the NTS programme or as a new teaching space project (depending on what type of space the transfer will address). 

Carry out any upgrade work following our usual project management requirements.

Property projects and design

Selling property funded by the board or community

You may wish to sell or dispose of board-funded property to other parties. As a board, you're a Crown agent so any disposal must go through the Crown disposal process.

Surplus school property

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