Budget and Federal Finance
Frequently Asked Questions
What is causing the budget shortfall?
- As Florida came out of the recession, our student growth resumed. However, funding levels to school districts has not yet been fully restored. These increases in student related costs, payroll expenses, new hires, health insurance costs, and operating expenses, outpaced district revenues from all sources. This resulted in fiscal deficits for multiple years in a row. The impact of these deficits was minimized by using emergency reserves known as the Fund Balance. Also, increased population resulted in the need for more schools. Without the funds on-hand to pay for the schools, over one billion dollars of debt was accumulated so that we could build schools during a student growth boom between 1994 and 2014. Half of the current revenue earned from local millage property taxes is now used to pay off this construction debt.
- Ongoing lack of investment in public education in Florida. Florida is ranked 41st in the U.S. for educational funding and the current base student allocation in Florida is below the 2007-2008 funding levels. (Source: Education Law Center)
- The school choice movement which began in Florida in 1996 has caused students to transfer out of traditional public schools which results in less revenue in the district’s general fund for operating costs.
How is the budget determined?
The Hillsborough County Public Schools Budget and Federal Finance Office is responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of the annual Hillsborough County Public Schools operating budget that is funded with county property tax millage assessments and the annual state funding source, Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP).
When will the 2017-2018 budget be approved?
Each year, a budget is created based on available funds and local needs. The School Board of Hillsborough County is set to approve a tentative budget for the 2017-2018 school year during their July 18 meeting at 3 pm.
How can the public provide input?
The public is invited to learn about the proposed budget and speak about their concerns during a public hearing on the budget on the August 1 board meeting. The public hearing starts at 5pm.
How will schools be impacted?
District leaders are working with area superintendents and principals to review essential and non-essential programs and positions to determine what is in the best interest of students, and how schools can operate more efficiently, creatively and effectively to obtain the most beneficial student outcomes.
How will enrichment, advanced placement, career and technical and magnet programs be impacted?
Programs that are positively impacting student achievement and can be justified by enrollment numbers will be preserved.
How will student services for the disabled be impacted?
The School District allocates teaching and support units for each school based upon the needs of the students as described in their Individual Educational Plans. We ensure that all students will receive the Exceptional Student Education instructional services and related services to match their documented needs.
How will capital improvement to schools be impacted?
We are currently operating under a five-year plan for capital improvements. It is our goal to maintain this schedule. Any updates/revisions to the schedule will be reported on this website.
What has Superintendent Jeff Eakins and the School Board done to improve the budget shortfalls over the past few years?
The Superintendent has been seeking to become more efficient in all areas, starting with the allocation of employees. More than 300 district administrators have been reassigned to the classroom.
The Superintendent has initiated a thorough review of the budget process which continues today. New controls and contract review procedures have been added to safeguard the Fund Balance and reduce spending. These changes have resulted in the School District’s bond rating outlook to improve from negative to stable (Fitch Ratings).