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Education Referendum

District Needs

How did we get here?

Today, Florida ranks 44th in the U.S. for education funding — after plunging downward from 27th in 1998. This dramatic drop in state funding, combined with our county's growing population, means our district does not receive enough state funding to keep up with maintenance needed for aging schools and new schools needed to relieve overcrowding.

Since 2008 alone, the Florida Legislature has cut the property tax rate that supports school maintenance, relief for overcrowding and classroom technology by 25%.

Base funding from the Legislature rose by just 47 cents per student for the 2018-19 year
One-hundredth of one percent
Since 2015
Nationwide cost of living up 6%
Health care spending per person up 12%
Avg. home sale price in Hillsborough up 41%
Base student allocation, our flexible
funding for schools up 1.2%
Because of inadequate state funding, our students face a future in aging, crowded schools, and our community faces a $2 billion challenge.
Air conditioner unit on top of a building

$1 billion in deferred maintenance

40 schools need immediate A/C replacement, 20 need new roofs
One high school A/C = $7-12 million

Students walking through school courtyard

$1 billion needed to handle growth

In the next 15 years, our county will need a minimum of 32 new schools
Building one high school = $65 million

student with flute standing next to lockers

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the proposed education referendum

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Air Conditioning & Maintenance

Currently overdue work & needs for the next 20 years

Does not include at least 32 needed new schools

Consists of $1 billion in past-due deferred maintenance and $4 1/2 billion in upcoming maintenance and refurbishment needs

Traditional schools with the lowest need: DeSoto Elementary $6,451,722, Potter Elementary $7,496,460, Cleveland Elementary $7,764,325

Traditional schools with highest need: Leto High $77,303,157, Gaither High $76,780,297, Sickles High $76,372,611

The ZIP Codes in each area with the highest needs:

  • Northwest County: 33626 – $200,974,990
  • North and Northeast County: 33647 – $324,483,898
  • Central and East Tampa: 33610 – $443,841,105
  • West and South Tampa: 33607 – $279,377,564
  • East County: 33584 – $202,994,396
  • South County: 33569 – $163,739,658
District projected cost by region

Robust financial stewardship keeps costs down & results up

Hillsborough turned around a $126 million budget deficit

Budget Deficit

Our district generated savings by adding efficiency and reducing costs district wide

real estate
We have reduced costs dramatically, including reducing staff by about 1,900 positions since 2015
  • Brings us in line with comparable districts in Florida
  • District administration = 1% of total staff
Student to Staff Ratio Chart

Despite these challenges, 2017-18 was another record-setting year for Hillsborough's students

District set all-time graduation rate record

Graduation Rates
Increased grad rate equals a $670 million economic impact since 2015

Hillsborough ranks at the top of 27 large districts across America

The Nation's Report Card
4th graders tied for 1st place in reading and math
8th graders tied for 1st place in reading and 2nd place in math

Achievement gaps continue to close

Achievement Gap
Grad rates for minority, exceptional, and English learners students are rising faster than the overall rate
Statewide leader in workforce and career training
  • Students earned district record 7,000+ industry certifications in IT, welding & more
  • 1,200+ apprenticeships put students in real-world jobs, building Tampa Bay’s skylines
  • USF Health, Florida Hospital & Moffitt partner with medical magnet schools
  • Home to 4 technical colleges, 65 Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs & 206 middle and high school Career and Professional Education (CAPE) Academies

We’re proud of the impact our schools have on our community. Our students are ready for the challenges of the future.

When our students succeed, our schools succeed. And when our schools succeed, our community thrives. In Hillsborough County, we climb together.

We Climb Together

Important information for school district employees: Referendum Education Toolkit

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