Children are having their education undermined by “crumbling, run-down schools” after a government building programme suffered a series of delays, council leaders have claimed.
West Midland authorities have submitted bids to build or rebuild at least 50 schools – and they were promised an answer by the end of December.
But Ministers have yet to reveal which bids have been successful and which are to be rejected.
The Local Government Association has warned that heads need to know urgently whether they are getting the money or not.
David Simmonds, Chair of the association’s Children and Young People Board and a Conservative councillor, said: “The situation is now unacceptable and threatens to severely impact on our children’s education.
"Schools can wait three months to repair a leaky roof if they know that at some point it will be fixed, but when that wait turns into six months, then 12 months or more the delays become intolerable.
“In the current tough economic climate we know it’s not going to be possible to rebuild every school from scratch and councils aren’t asking for gold plated taps and state-of-the-art luxury staffrooms.
"But heads and parents are telling us that the condition of some schools is so bad its getting in the way of providing a good education.”
Education Secretary Michael Gove invited councils to bid for a share of funding from a new scheme called the Priority Schools Building Programme, following his controversial decision to scrap the ambitious school building programme launched by the previous government.
Called Building Schools for the Future, this would have involved rebuilding or refurbishing every school in the country.
Mr Gove’s announcement in July 2010 that he was ending the scheme meant the cancellation of plans to refurbish or rebuild 13 schools in Birmingham and caused particular anger in Sandwell, which was due to rebuild nine secondary schools at a cost of £125 million.
The deadline for schools or councils to bid for a share of the £2 billion Priority School Building Programme was 14 October 2011, and the Department for Education originally said it would announce which projects had been successful in December 2011.
The announcement was delayed, and in January Mr Gove told the House of Commons that “final decisions on each school in the programme will not be made until at least next month”.
The Local Government Association says it is particularly important that the announcement is made soon because the scheme has been oversubscribed and many headteachers are likely to find they need to make other plans instead of relying on government funds.
A survey by the association found the bids had been submitted for at least 476 schools, although the total figure may be higher because some councils did not respond to requests for information.
However, the funding available is expected to pay for the refurbishment of 300 schools at most.
Birmingham has bid for funding for 19 schools, including 16 to be improved and three new schools. Coventry has bid for funding for seven schools, Sandwell has bid for 17, Walsall has bid for six and Worcestershire has bid for funding for one primary school.
Birmingham MP Richard Burden (Lab Northfield), who said: “The first question is, why the delay? Building Schools for the Future was cancelled a long time ago.
“There are schools in Birmingham, including my constituency, which urgently need this funding.
“Birmingham is crawling with officials from the Department for Education, but they are busy trying to force schools to become academies. Mr Gove should tell his officials to spend more time and resources worrying about the fabric of our schools instead.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “There has been huge interest in the Priority School Building Programme. We are carefully assessing and reviewing each application.
"We make no apologies for having a fair, thorough and rigorous bidding process. We are taking our time to get this right and will announce our decisions as soon as we can.”
Leaked e-mails have revealed Mr Gove’s frustration with the row which followed his decision to cancel the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which had been criticised by a Commons inquiry for being badly managed and offering no guarantees that money was being well spent.
In one leaked e-mail, sent using his wife’s e-mail account, he discussed legal action taken by Black Country council Sandwell and other local authorities to challenge his decision, writing: “BSF judicial review…..(AAAAAARGGGGGHHHH!!!!!!)”