Valrico schools, including Valrico Elementary School, Durant High School and Mulrennan Middle School, are benefitting from the money raised from Hillsborough County’s half-penny tax.

The Hillsborough County School District (HCSD) is using the student break to perform many much-needed upgrades thanks to funds from the half-penny sales tax approved by voters in late 2018. Schools throughout the county, including three in the Valrico area, are receiving air conditioning, roof, classroom technology and safety and security improvements.

“Thanks to the taxpayers of Hillsborough County, our district has invested more than $121,000,000 to address essential needs in our schools,” said HCSD’s Erin Maloney.

Twenty-six schools throughout the county are receiving improvements this summer, including Valrico Elementary School, Mulrennan Middle School and Durant High School.

Durant is undergoing multiple projects, including reroofing, HVAC and fire alarm replacement, building envelope renovations such as sealant replacement, painting stucco and windows, door and hardware replacement of exterior doors, building ID signage replacement, propane tank relocation and other electrical work. The budget for the construction is $11,075,344.

Mulrennan’s HVAC renovation has a budget of $2,000,000 and Valrico Elementary will receive HVAC renovation and have its parking lot repaved with a budget of $4.6 million.

According to Principal Robert Stingone of Eisenhower Middle School in Riverview, the improvements will help the students learn during the next school year.

“We want our students to have the best environment they can,” said Stingone. “The new air units and painting of the buildings will help students increase their feeling of pride in their school and campus and remind them that we want the best environment for them to learn in. You can see and hear in the students the pride they have when they see new paint, additions to campus and consistently working AC and they know people care about them and want them to have the best environment they can. When they have pride, students help take even better care of their campus and overall school culture stays positive and continues to grow in a positive direction.”

To learn more about the half-penny tax and how it is being used by the school district, visit

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.