It's been a good week for Hillsborough County public schools, as county voters Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a 10-year sales surtax that will pump $131 million annually into new air conditioners, roofs and flooring and other much-needed upgrades at hundreds of aging campuses across the county. And as an added bonus this week, vendors at a convention in Tampa have arranged to donate their furniture to the schools instead of shipping it back home. This is a great example of the good that can come when people have civic spirit and realize that every bit counts.
Some 2,500 people gathered at the Tampa Convention Center this week for a meeting of EDspaces. The conference attracts education leaders, architects, interior designers and other professionals and vendors whose goal is to foster innovative designs in school facilities that maximize the educational experience.
For the 23rd year at its conference site, exhibitors at EDspaces are donating truckloads of furniture to the host city's schools. One company, Paragon Furniture, took the lead, but as of early Thursday, multiple others had joined, and the foundation is working with the other 220 vendors to reach similar agreements. School and foundation officials tagged what they wanted this week, and the donated items will be sent to the district's high-needs schools, including Foster, Potter and B.T. Washington elementary schools, Slight Middle School and a handful of others.
Hillsborough voters this week showed just how important the schools are to the community's social fabric. These companies deserve credit for building on that investment with this generous gift.