Counting the referendum money in the Hillsborough schools

Eighteen air conditioning projects are already under way.
Members of the Blake High School marching band march toward the band room before a game against Middleton High School. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)
Published Mar. 14
Updated Mar. 14

An oversight committee will get an update Friday on the money coming in to fix capital needs in the Hillsborough County Public Schools - and how it is being spent.

Since January, taxpayers have been hit with an extra half percent in sales tax in addition to the half cent they approved for road improvements. An oversight committee for the schools tax, chaired by former University of South Florida president Betty Castor and Sheriff Chad Chronister, will meet at 8 a.m.

Agenda documents show the district has started air conditioning projects already at these schools: Alonso, Blake, Plant, Riverview, Sickles and Wharton High; Benito, Burnett, Mulrennan, Randall, Rodgers and Walker Middle; Knights, Lincoln, Lithia Springs, Lowry and Schwartzkopf Elementary; and Waters Career Center. The major work will be done in the summer, when students are away.

Roofs are being repaired or replaced Hunters Green and Summerfield Elementary; Roland Park K-8, Sickles and Wharton, and Williams Middle School.

The district already has completed some smaller projects including an outdoor court replacement at Coleman Middle, an athletic track repaving at Sickles, and new fire alarm controls at Woodson K-8.

Friday’s agenda also includes a discussion on charter schools, and when they can be considered for what could turn out to be $1.5 billion in funding over the next ten years.

The school district’s position is that to be considered, a charter school organization must own its building; and, for most of the district’s 50 charter schools, that is not the case. But, at its last meeting, members of the committee asked for clarification, especially when it comes to schools that are managed by for-profit companies.