SouthShore schools are benefitting from the money raised from Hillsborough County’s half-penny tax with improvements this summer.

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 SouthShore 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 Eisenhower and Rodgers Middle Schools and Leto High School. Leto is one of the district’s largest projects to date with a $13.8 million budget.

According to Principal Robert Stingone, Eisenhower is receiving 35 new air handling units across campus. Eisenhower’s projects have a budget of $5.8 million.

“Along with the new units, three buildings are receiving new duct work and three others are having the ducts thoroughly cleaned,” said Stingone. “There will also be items upgraded with the new air units such as new control systems and any mechanical or electrical upgrades needed to accommodate the new air units.”

The school’s ESE center is also being painted inside, receiving new ceiling tiles and receiving new ADA automatic doors and the exterior of all campus buildings is being repainted.

“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 Eisenhower Middle School can be reached at 671-5121.

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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.