Seminole schools hope to cash in with land sales

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The Seminole County School District is hoping to make millions of dollars on several pieces of land it's trying to sell.

The district just sold 2 acres of land on West Airport Boulevard for nearly $2 million.

The popular convenience store chain Wawa has put in an offer of $1.7 million -- that's more than the land's assessed value.

"That fact that it sold so quickly and at a time when we need the money the most, it pleases us," said George Kosmac, Seminole County Public Schools deputy superintendent of operations.

The district has about 50 acres on the market right now, with a value of around $5 million.

School administrators said the more they can make on the sales, the more they can put into schools in need of major improvements.

Some critics said the extra land should have been sold a long time ago.

The school board has been accused of overbuilding and overbuying during the real estate boom in the early 2000s.

"At that point, we thought we had to grow our school capacity," said Kosmac. "Obviously that changed."

At one point, the district had $11.5 million worth of land sitting unused. Now, officials are considering putting more land up for sale.

"If it's not being used, and it isn't used for school expansion or needed for school expansion, then it makes sense to invest in the schools we have," said parent Justin Sowers.

The school board will approve the sale of the land at its meeting Tuesday.

The tax increase that voters just approved to help schools will only raise money for school operations, not capital improvements.