The Education Ministry has begun a trial to see if it can buy property services more cheaply and efficiently than schools.
Schools get nearly $300 million a year in government funding for maintenance and upgrades to property worth more than $10 billion.
Many schools contract local companies to maintain their buildings with regular painting and repairs.
Now the ministry is running a three-month trial in 29 lower North Island schools to see if it can get those services more cheaply and efficiently by negotiating regional or even national contracts.
Principals beleive that would be especially attractive to small schools, where property matters can take up a lot of principals' time.