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Hillsborough schools now seeking broker bids

Published March 12, 2006

The Hillsborough County School District is changing the way it works with private real estate brokers, a move spurred by a St. Petersburg Times investigation into their impact on land acquisitions.

None of the four main brokers now working for the district had to submit bids, sign contracts or provide references or experience before handling lucrative and often sensitive land negotiations.

That will soon change under a plan being implemented by district officials.

Last week, the district posted an advertisement for real estate brokerage services on its Web site. A committee will rank the proposals and forward them to the School Board for approval in May.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia said a decision on whether the brokers will be paid commissions based on the purchase price of land has not been made.

"I think it's important for us to tighten up," Elia said. "That's what we're doing."

[Last modified April 27, 2006, 16:45:03]

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