Whanganui schools have welcomed a Government announcement that they will receive much-needed cash injections for maintenance and upgrades.

However, the announcement made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins on Sunday has come as a surprise to some Whanganui principals who said they would prefer to comment after they have looked into the details.

Keith St principal Linda Ireton said it is "fantastic news".

"I don't want to say too much until I have gone over the details but I"m quietly delighted."

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With a roll of 165 students, Keith St is in line to receive $114,345 from a national package of $396 million.

The buildings at the school are more than 60 years old and Ireton said she has kept in close contact with a Ministry of Education adviser to monitor a tight maintenance budget.

"We have an idea for an upgrade we would love to do but will need to find out whether it meets the criteria for this payment."

Nearly every state school in New Zealand will receive the one-off payment next year valued at $693 per student to bring forward urgent school property improvements.

The improvements may include classroom upgrades, including making classrooms more flexible and modern.

It may also be used for replacing roofing and guttering, upgrading stormwater drainage systems, installing energy-efficient heating and lighting or resurfacing outdoor courts and paved areas.

Schools with small roles like Kakatahi School with a roll of 10 will receive a payment of $50,000 while Whanganui High School with a roll of 1363 will receive the maximum payment of $400,000.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the one-off cash injection is the first project to be announced from the Government's infrastructure package to future proof the economy and provide schools with money for upgrades that have been put on the back burner.

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"Nearly every school and community in New Zealand will benefit from this windfall investment.

"I'm proud that students and teachers will be the first to benefit from our infrastructure upgrade," Ardern said.

"The Government is taking advantage of historically low interest rates to improve school buildings and grounds while creating jobs up and down the country.

"It's the biggest capital injection for school maintenance funding in at least 25 years."

Ardern said she has visited plenty of schools and would be hard-pressed to name one that didn't have need.

"You hear horror stories about kids learning in damp, mouldy classrooms."

She said the Government is encouraging schools to engage local builders, plumbers, carpenters, roofers and landscapers to provide work at a local level in every town and city.

"This Government is committed to growing our economy, creating jobs and making our schools great places to learn and the centre of local communities. This policy delivers on all those objectives."

Hipkins said many schools have had to put off building projects and make do with patched up classrooms and playgrounds.

"When we have the opportunity as we do now, we should and can do better to lift the quality of the classrooms students and teachers spend so much time in.

"This cash injection, to be administered by the Ministry of Education through existing planning processes, gives schools breathing room to catch up on deferred building work. It's a well-deserved early Christmas present for school communities."

Eligible schools must have been built before 2015.

Integrated schools, schools built through a public-private partnership, or schools in leased accommodation are not eligible.