Govt silent on “bottomless pit” school computer program

EDUCATION Minister Adrian Piccoli has kept secret how much the government will spend on a new computer program for NSW schools that has already cost more than half a billion dollars.

Mr Piccoli denied the $573 million already spent on the Learning Management and Business Reform system was a "blow-out" when fronting a budget estimates hearing on Monday.

"There is a budget, I'm just not telling you what it is," he said.

"It's a Cabinet decision and there are commercial-in-confidence reasons not to disclose it."

The controversial IT program had been established in 229 pilot schools but was planned to be rolled out to all of the state's 2218 schools by last year, the committee heard.

Labor committee member Walt Secord said the $573 million spent over four years could have built 23 "brand new, schmick high schools".

"So are you just going to continue to pour money into this project?" he asked.

Mr Piccoli said he was not at liberty to reveal the scheme's final budget.

"I believe I'd be committing an offence if I actually answered the question," he said.

"Every organisation needs to have an updated IT system, and that's what we're doing with the Department of Education."

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