School by School Project List Details 1,785 School Projects to be Funded by Education Referendum
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tanya Arja
Office of Communications
Video and Interview Opportunity
Tampa, Fla. – (September 21, 2018) – Hillsborough County Public Schools will release the school by school list today outlining the specific school improvement projects that a half-penny sales tax would fund at schools across the district if voters approve the education referendum on the November 6 ballot. The link to the list will be posted at hillsboroughschools.org/referendum shortly before noon today.
Today, Friday, September 21, at 12:30 p.m., Superintendent Jeff Eakins will be available to speak to reporters at Westchase Elementary School. There will be video opportunities of the projects that Westchase Elementary can expect if the education referendum passes; including an air conditioning replacement, interior and exterior painting and waterproofing, new playground equipment and fire evacuation improvements.
A complete list of 1,785 specific projects over the next 10 years will be available for parents, students, school staff and the community to view. The projects include 203 school air conditioning replacements and overhauls, 63 aging roof replacements and $23 million in safety and security improvements. At least $500,000 will be invested at every school in buildings owned by our district. A Citizen Oversight Committee will review all spending.
The list is broken down by school, and parents will be able to find their child’s school to see the district’s plans for years 1-5 and years 6-10 of the tax referendum.
In addition, a total of $25 million over ten years will be dedicated to transforming classrooms with technology to develop job skills for tomorrow’s economy. Our district is a state and national leader in workforce and career education, along with learning in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Converting traditional classrooms into career learning laboratories will provide students with state-of-the-art industry standard equipment, preparing students for skilled trades such as automotive mechanics, construction, electrical, welding, and manufacturing; as well as new and emerging technology fields including biomedical and health sciences, robotics, engineering, and drone technology.
The district has more than 230 schools – the average age being nearly 50 years old – and many schools are in need of a major investment. Florida ranks 44th in the nation in education funding for K-12 schools. Despite the inadequate state funding, Hillsborough Schools continues to climb to new heights academically. Last year, our district’s graduation rate reached a record high and the district was ranked as a top-rated large school district in the nation.
For the past three years, Superintendent Eakins and School Board members have led the climb out of a financial hole – reducing costs, finding new efficiencies and strategically working to get the district’s financial house in order. In that timeframe, the district reduced 1,900 positions. Hillsborough Schools faces $1 billion in deferred maintenance and another $1 billion needed to handle the growth expected over the next 15 years. A minimum of 32 new schools are needed for the students expected to come to Hillsborough County. Building just one high school, which also serves as a hurricane shelter, costs more than $65 million.
A typical family in Hillsborough County would pay $63 a year for the education referendum based on the Hillsborough County median income; the half-penny sales tax would not be charged on groceries or medicine, and is only charged on the first $5,000 of large purchases.