Planning will begin on two new primary schools and a new high school for the Illawarra as the NSW 2023 budget begins to rebuild trust between Illawarra teachers and the NSW government, one Illawarra educator has said.
Funding was set aside for new primary schools in Calderwood and West Dapto, a new high school in Flinders and new playgrounds at Dapto High School and Minnamurra Public School.
The Illawarra schools will be funded as part of $682.7 million for new schools in the state in this year's budget.
The Minns government's signature policy of removing the public sector wages cap - which covered teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public servants - is forecast to cost $3.6 billion over four years.
A fortnight out from the budget the government locked in a pay deal with teachers after damaging negotiations spilled into the open between teachers who manned booths and helped get the government across the line.
Keira High School deputy principal Trystan Loades said after a loss of trust during negotiations there was a sense of "relief" among colleagues.
"It's an important step to honour the deal, and there's a massive sense of relief among teachers," he said.
Across the state there are thousands of vacancies for teaching roles, and even in an otherwise attractive area such as the Illawarra, Mr Loades, who is also the secretary of the Illawarra Teacher's Association said it was hard to find staff and that increasing salaries to where NSW teachers were the best paid in Australia would have a material impact.
"We're struggling to staff schools and so addressing and making salaries better is a huge thing that needs to happen so that schools can operate the way they need to," he said.
As well as a pay boost for teachers,
In the lead up to the 2023 election, Keira MP Ryan Park promised a number of schools in his electorate would receive funding to build sports courts, outdoor learning and play areas.
The government will spend $9.8 billion on school infrastructure across the state over the next four years.
Mr Loades said that having put the pay negotiations to bed, Illawarra teachers were looking to the government to improve schools and outcomes for students across the rest of its term.
"They got off to a strong start, the issues around the pay deal were a blip, but hopefully they can get back on track, because there's a huge amount to do in education," he said.
"They've got thorny issues to try and sort out, but budgets are about setting priorities, so it's an important test of what this Minns government's priorities are."
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