TAMPA, Fla. — The Hillsborough County School Board voted Friday for a referendum that will ask residents to pay more in sales tax.
Officials say keeping Hillsborough County schools cool is expensive and the additional half-cent will help them do it.
“AC units in high schools cost $12 million, so just for a complete overhaul, the money goes very, very quickly,” Jeff Eakins, the Hillsborough County Superintendent said.
“Our students are sitting in hot classrooms without air conditioning, we now have a lead issue, we have radon issues," school board member Cindy Stuart says the district can't wait any longer.
This won’t be the only tax on the ballot this November. A transportation initiative would add a 1 percent sales tax increase.
Combined that would put Hillsborough’s county sales tax at 8.5 percent, highest in the state.
“If we invest very wisely with these dollars we will ensure that we have a higher graduation rate, more students will be successful, high wage, high demand types of jobs. And this community will be amazing.”
If the referendum fails to pass in November, school officials plan to try again in March.