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Hillsborough students start new school year with safety upgrades

Posted: 4:59 AM, Aug 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-12 19:10:27-04
Hillsborough County School Choice

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Hillsborough County students will start the 2019-2020 school year off with a series of changes that district officials say will improve safety and comfort as they head back to class.

New Crossing Guards

Several schools received infrastructure updates in Hillsborough County over the last few months. A new marked crosswalk near Buchanan Middle School was painted and school warning signage installed near North Boulevard and Lake Magdalene Boulevard. 

Sheriff Chad Chronister plans to visit Buchanan Middle School to welcome the newly hired middle school crossing guards as they work to help students across the road safely on the first day of school.

This is also the first academic year that crossing guards have been assigned to busy crosswalks outside of middle schools in Hillsborough County.

RECOMMENDED: Crossing guards ready for first day of 2019-2020 school year in Hillsborough County

An added 11 elementary schools were assigned crossing guards following an extensive study led by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department.

These are the schools that added crossing guards for the upcoming year:

elementary school crossing guard additions.JPG

New HVAC Units

Walker Middle Magnet School was one of 21 schools to have new A/C united installed over the summer. Crews put the finishing touches on it while teachers worked to set up their classrooms.

Thanks to the half penny sales tax referendum, the district says a total of 203 schools will get new A/C during the 10 year referendum.

RECOMMENDED: Students head back to Hillsborough County schools with new air conditioning

About 20 will get the air conditioning replaced or overhauled each summer. A district spokesperson said the average cost to replace A/C systems ran around $3 million for an elementary school, $5 million for a middle school and $7-$12 million for a high school.

Teacher and Instructional Hiring

As kids head back to school on Aug. 12, there are still 290 instructional positions open. This includes not only teachers, but also positions like school counselors, reading coaches and speech pathologists.

However, Supt. Jeff Eakins says he believes the district is on track to make sure students have a teacher despite a nationwide teacher shortage.