• Osceola County schools see improvements funded by sales tax increase

    By: Mike Lopardi , James Tutten

    Updated:

    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - The half-penny sales tax some of voters approved 2 years ago, for Osceola County is starting to make a difference in the community.

    The tax generated about $30 million last year and that's about $5 million more than leaders expected.

    At Michigan Avenue Elementary in St. Cloud, there's a lot of construction going on.

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    This project is known as a rebuild, meaning the district is building a brand-new building to replace the old school.

    The school was at the top of the list, in part because of its age. It was built in the early 1970s, and parents said it shows.

    The area in front of the school will be reconfigured so parents can drive up for pick up and drop off.

    The superintendent said Thursday that the building should be completed by spring break.

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    Once that happens, students can move inside, and the old school will be torn down.

    A large number of children are walkers and should notice new sidewalks that will likely help them get around safely.

    Not every project will be this extreme. In many cases, the district is painting or replacing carpeting.

    Officials said there was roughly $100 million in maintenance work that was pushed back over the years that is now being addressed by the tax.

    The superintendent said the buildings are so old the district will likely need all 20 years of the tax to get them up to speed.

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