Gen­er­ous house­guests

Tampa Bay Times - - Opinion -

It’s been a good week for Hills­bor­ough County pub­lic schools, as county vot­ers Tues­day over­whelm­ingly ap­proved a 10-year sales sur­tax that will pump $131 mil­lion an­nu­ally into new air con­di­tion­ers, roofs and floor­ing and other much-needed up­grades at hun­dreds of ag­ing cam­puses across the county. And as an added bonus this week, ven­dors at a con­ven­tion in Tampa have ar­ranged to do­nate their fur­ni­ture to the schools in­stead of ship­ping it back home. This is a great ex­am­ple of the good that can come when peo­ple have civic spirit and re­al­ize that every bit counts.

Some 2,500 peo­ple gath­ered at the Tampa Con­ven­tion Cen­ter this week for a meet­ing of EDs­paces. The con­fer­ence at­tracts ed­u­ca­tion lead­ers, ar­chi­tects, in­te­rior de­sign­ers and other pro­fes­sion­als and ven­dors whose goal is to foster in­no­va­tive de­signs in school fa­cil­i­ties that max­i­mize the ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence.

For the 23rd year at its con­fer­ence site, ex­hibitors at EDs­paces are do­nat­ing truck­loads of fur­ni­ture to the host city’s schools. One com­pany, Paragon Fur­ni­ture, took the lead, but as of early Thurs­day, mul­ti­ple oth­ers had joined, and the foun­da­tion is work­ing with the other 220 ven­dors to reach sim­i­lar agree­ments. School and foun­da­tion of­fi­cials tagged what they wanted this week, and the do­nated items will be sent to the district’s high-needs schools, in­clud­ing Foster, Pot­ter and B.T. Wash­ing­ton ele­men­tary schools, Slight Mid­dle School and a hand­ful of oth­ers.

Hills­bor­ough vot­ers this week showed just how im­por­tant the schools are to the com­mu­nity’s so­cial fab­ric. Th­ese com­pa­nies de­serve credit for build­ing on that in­vest­ment with this gen­er­ous gift.

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