Students at Wagga's public schools may face a scorching summer in classrooms without adequate cooling systems, as the rollout of the state government's air conditioning delivery program continues to drag on.
There are currently up to 714 schools on the waiting list around the state, including six in the Wagga electorate.
North Wagga Public School, Wagga High School, and Sturt Public School have now reached the design phase of the program, with the expectation that construction will begin by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Forest Hill Public School, Kooringal High School and Tumut Public School are still in the tender phase.
With temperatures set to soar by the end of this week, Wagga's Independent state member Joe McGirr has expressed concern that the Riverina has so far been overlooked in the rollout.
"I must say it is a bit concerning that the rollout has been a bit slow," Dr McGirr told The Daily Advertiser on Monday.
"We know what the conditions will be even this week, and what they will be. The fire season has started early, the high temperatures are rising earlier and ending later and we know that extreme heat does impact learning.
"We need to be doing what we can to improve the learning environment for all students."
Facing questions from the opposition in the Legislative Council last week, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Sarah Mitchell explained that it was expected that some schools would not see the delivery of the Cooler Classrooms strategy this year.
She further expressed the government's commitment to seeing the rollout take place across all schools within the next half-decade.
"The Government has made a commitment for $500 million over five years," Ms Mitchell told the parliament.
"It is a five-year program to provide sustainable air conditioning and fresh air ventilation for New South Wales public schools."
Many of the 48 schools around the state that have already seen the construction rollout exist outside the major cities.
But at least half of these schools are situated in areas with a mean-January temperature below 30-degrees.
"We are in one of the hottest areas, and I'm surprised to see some of the city areas [getting in first]," Dr McGirr said.
"Along the eastern seaboard gets the sea breeze, so, you'd think we would be getting a lot hotter than it is out there."
Speaking to parliament, Ms Mitchell expressed her expectation that work would accelerate in many schools during the upcoming holiday period.
"Obviously as we come into the Christmas holidays, it is a very good time, because it is less disruptive, for us as a government and as a department to get into schools and build school infrastructure when students and teachers are not there," Ms Mitchell said.
Dr McGirr acknowledged the delivery of the program may be stalled in some areas by negotiating these and other factors.
"I understand there has been an issue with older classrooms, the power supply available and getting the work done at a time that will not interrupt classrooms," he said.
Nevertheless, Dr McGirr expressed his desire to see the rollout across the Riverina take place before the onslaught of worsening weather.
"I do have a meeting with the minister [Sarah Mitchell MLC] this week and I will be bringing it up with her there," he said.