• Half-cent sales tax increase a boon for Brevard County schools, officials say

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    Twelve Brevard County schools have seen much-needed upgrades over the summer thanks to a half-cent sales tax increase that put $50 million into the district’s coffers.

    “We have spent about $35 million,” Brevard County Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Irwin said. “So far, we brought in just over $50 million with the half-cent sales tax (increase).”

    One of the biggest issues addressed the cooling systems in the schools, Irwin said.

    Having outdated and under-powered air conditioning units is not only a safety issue, it’s something that can hurt student productivity, resident Sally Westerbeke said.

    “They can’t study if they are hot and sweaty,” Irwin said. “I think they learn better with the air conditioning.”

    At Roosevelt Elementary alone, 45 air conditioning units were installed and other structural issues were addressed, Irwin said.

    “(Students) won’t see portable air conditioning units at a lot of our schools like we used to,” she said. “They won’t see as many pipes bursting or having electrical problems.”

    Brevard County Schools also upgraded security fencing to provide a single point of access to school properties.

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