Randall Middle and Bevis Elementary Schools are benefitting from the money raised from Hillsborough County’s half-penny tax with improvements last summer.

As of December 2020, Hillsborough County Public Schools had collected $219 million from the referendum. Workers completed 188 projects and 120 were in progress. There are 1,785 projects planned over the 10 years of the referendum. So far, $23 million has been spent on safety and security and $25 million on technology updates. Of all the money, 21 percent has been spent with small and minority-owned businesses.

There are 14 major projects planned in the county for the summer of 2021.

Original story printed August 2020.

The Hillsborough County School District (HCSD) used 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 two in the FishHawk area, received air conditioning improvements since the students left the buildings in March.

“Thanks to the taxpayers of Hillsborough County, our district has invested more than $121 million to address essential needs in our schools,” said HCSD’s Erin Maloney. “With students and staff physically off campuses since March, it has allowed construction crews access to get ahead of schedule on planned major A/C and roofing projects in our schools. Despite the slowdown of some equipment delivery and lower-than-projected sales tax revenue, our district is still on track to planned projected for this year.”

Twenty-six schools throughout the county received improvements this summer, including Randall Middle and Bevis Elementary schools.

According to Randall Principal Claire Mawhinney, the work was extensive in some areas of the school with the replacement of air handlers and ductwork in multiple areas.

“The company lead says that the A/C will be ready for students when they arrive,” she explained. “Having a comfortable learning environment is essential.”

The referendum proceeds can be used only for permanent capital purchases including buildings, maintenance, technology and security.

To learn more, visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us. A list of projects can be found at hillsboroughschools.org/citizenoversight.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.