Stolen from schools -- and you pay for it

Stolen from schools -- and you pay for it

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It's back-to-school time and the items on your student's shopping list can really start to add up, but it pales in comparison with what schools are spending to replace lost and stolen items.

Bay Area school districts are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars buying missing items like laptop computers, musical instruments, and even soccer goals. This problem has been going on for years.

"Everything we own is paid for by the taxpayers, so we need to make sure we keep track of it," said Steve Hegarty with Hillsborough County Schools.

Across the bay in Pinellas County, close to 500 items appear on the list of lost and stolen items. Those items really add up -- worth more than $631,000 when they were brought new.

The district says that number could go down if some of the lost items are located.

By law, school districts are required to keep inventory reports. Here are just a few examples of big ticket items missing on the most recent lists from Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco.

  • $5,207 for a tuba from Pasco's Sunlake High School
  • $3,983 for a clarinet from Hillsborough's Jefferson High
  • $1,998 for a pressure washer from St. Petersburg High

Although it may look bad, there appears to be real value to exposing the lists.

"I can tell you when there is an article or it's discussed at a school board meeting, principals take notice, department heads take notice, and I think everybody that there is value because they say I don't want to be on that list," added Hegarty.

Detailed reports:

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