A new primary school in Papamoa was announced by the Government last year but there has been no planning or development done since because the city council lodged an appeal to the Environment Court.
The council would not say why when questioned by the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend this week.
"We have agreed with the Ministry of Education that we would not discuss the matter before the court in the public arena so as not to prejudice negotiations or the final outcome," said Andrew Mead, manager of city and infrastructure planning.
He said the council and the ministry were working together to get the matter resolved outside the court, "so that the development of this much-needed school can proceed".
In June last year, the Government announced a 7ha site on Te Okuroa Dr had been bought by the Ministry of Education for a new primary school set to open in 2020.
The total cost of the project would be $21 million.
It was part of a local $30m investment package announced by then-Education Minister Nikki Kaye.
A notice was lodged by the Ministry requiring the Tauranga City Council to designate the site for educational purposes.
But the council lodged an appeal to the Environment Court.
The designation of a site for educational purposes needs to be complete before planning and development is undertaken, the ministry said.
"We are currently engaged in a mediation process with the council to assist in reaching an agreement outside of the court," Kim Shannon, head of the Ministry's Education Infrastructure Service, said.
"A timeline for the design, procurement and construction of the school will be established once sector engagement has been undertaken and the land designation process completed."
She said in the meantime, the ministry was progressing with additional schooling provision in a number of areas across Tauranga.
The new school in Papamoa was to be located about 500m past Parton Rd and was to open in three years, Kaye said last year.
The ministry paid $5.7m for the land through a Crown to Crown transfer from its former owner, the New Zealand Transport Agency.
The school would accommodate a roll of 400 pupils, with the site big enough to also hold an early childhood centre if required.
Mead said the council worked closely with the Ministry to support planning for new schools and classrooms "for our growing communities".
He said the support of central Government was essential to build sustainable communities in Tauranga.
The future school at Te Okuroa Dr would provide much-needed education capacity for the fast-growing suburb of Papamoa East, Mead said.
"We are currently engaged in a mediation process with the ministry, to further discuss the conditions of the designation. We hope to reach a resolution that is satisfactory to both parties soon."
Extra classrooms will ease pressure
As part of the same $30m Government announcement last year, Golden Sands School in Papamoa Beach and Pillans Point School in Otumoetai were promised new classrooms.
Golden Sands was allocated $4m for six new classrooms for an extra 150 pupils.
Kim Shannon, head of the ministry's Education Infrastructure Service, confirmed the preliminary design for the six new classrooms was underway and said construction would begin later this year.
Those new classrooms would be rolled out during the course of Term 1, 2019, she said.
Golden Sands School principal Melanie Taylor said the school desperately needed them.
She said the establishment of a new primary "and probably a new secondary" was essential in Papamoa long term.
She understood there were plans for two new schools in the area within the next two to three years.
"How these schools will impact on Golden Sands School depends on the enrolment criteria and/or zones for these schools. I would be hopeful that some pressure would come off us as a result of their opening."
Taylor said her school had 550 students and expected to finish the year with 620.
Meanwhile, Pillans Point School in Otumoetai was also allocated $5m for nine new classrooms – five additional classrooms and four replacement classrooms.
Shannon said the Education Infrastructure Service had completed the master planning phase for those nine new classrooms.
The design phase would start shortly, she said, and construction was expected to begin later this year.
Pillans Point principal Matt Simeon expected "at a push" that work on stage one would be finished mid-to-late next year.
Stage one was the building of six of the nine classrooms, he said.
Simeon said his school grew by 50 kids from the start of 2017 to the start of 2018.
"We're scraping through at the moment but yeah, it's definitely building space that we're going to need."
Andrew Mead, manager of city and infrastructure planning at the council, said the additional classrooms at Golden Sands School and Pillans Point School would ease the pressure on schools in those areas "as our communities in our more established central and western suburbs steadily continue to grow".