Pasco School Board begins talking up Penny for Pasco renewal
With the election just six months off, the Pasco County School Board on Tuesday kicked off its official conversation on seeking renewal of the Penny for Pasco.
The 2004 one percent sales tax, which the district shared with the county and cities, generated more than $140 million for the school system. The money went to building new schools and renovating others. The tax expires in 2014.
The board is looking to renew the tax before it expires. If approved, the tax is projected to bring another $226 million to the district. The project list is not yet approved. But the district staff has put together a proposed list that board members have applauded. It includes:
- Remodeling at Anclote, Cox, Cypress, Locke, Northwest, Pasco, Quail Hollow, Shady Hills and Woodland elementary schools; Bayonet Point Middle School; and Gulf, Hudson, Land O'Lakes and Zephyrhills high schools.
- Technology infrastructure updates at 41 schools.
- Campus safety improvements at Calusa, Cotee River, Giella, Moon Lake and Shady Hills elementary schools; Weightman Middle School; and Hudson High School.
- State-mandated technology system for data, research and operations.
"I like what we are seeing because it shows that all areas of our school district are getting improvements," board chairwoman Joanne Hurley said.
Penny for Pasco campaign chairmen Stew Gibbons and Hutch Brock encouraged district officials to help them educate residents about the district's need to continue the tax. They said they can tell a good story of how the district kept its promises with the current tax, and how it has specific needs to fix up existing schools moving forward.
"Lord knows we need this. There is no doubt we need this on both sides," Brock said.
The board expects to place the referendum on the ballot in July, for a Nov. 6 election. Fund raising for the campaign already has begun.