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The latest on the proposed schools tax in Hillsborough, including a more detailed wish list

 
Betty Castor, past state education commissioner; and Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister will chair and co-chair an oversight committee for the proposed sales surtax to benefit the schools. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
Betty Castor, past state education commissioner; and Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister will chair and co-chair an oversight committee for the proposed sales surtax to benefit the schools. [MARLENE SOKOL | Times]
Published Sept. 26, 2018|Updated Sept. 26, 2018

TAMPA — A seven-member advisory committee to oversee the planned Hillsborough County schools tax could be assembled in a week or two, chairwoman Betty Castor said Wednesday.

Castor, past state education commissioner and president of the University of South Florida is chairing the committee, which will review spending of $1.3 billion in sales tax proceeds over 10 years if a half-cent referendum wins voter approval Nov. 6.

Earlier this week, the school district announced that Sheriff Chad Chronister has agreed to be vice chair.

Appearing together Wednesday at Rampello Downtown Partnership School, the two expressed their support for each other and the proposed tax.

"It's really important to a have a system where we pay as we go," Castor said.

Chronister described Castor as "a legendary iconic figure when it comes to educational advancement."

Superintendent Jeff Eakins, who was also at the media event, said of Chronister: "Safety of children is his top priority."

District leaders hope these two high-profile appointments will lend credibility to the tax plan. "It's a strong committee," Eakins said. "It will hold this district accountable which is exactly what we want."

The district on Friday released a purchase list that provides at least $500,000 in investment at each of its schools.

In response to a public records request, the district this week provided the list in spreadsheet form, including purchase prices. Those are prices are estimates, and subject to change.

About $11 million is not accounted for, and charter schools can apply for it if they own their buildings and can demonstrate an unfunded capital need.

Eakins' schedule of appearances, meanwhile, continues to grow.

At 7 p.m. he will be at Grady Elementary School in Westshore for his fourth in a series of town hall meetings about the referendum.

Eakins also will be at a Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce gathering at 9:45 a.m. Thursday and at Cafe Con Tampa, which will meet 8 a.m. Friday at the Oxford Exchange.