Referendum Results

How the half-penny sales tax is improving our schools!

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A MESSAGE FROM OUR SUPERINTENDENT

The Education Referendum has been an integral part of our district’s quest to create the ideal learning environment for students in Hillsborough County Public Schools. When our community voted for this measure, we promised to utilize referendum funds exclusively to maintain facilities, thus ensuring children thrive in the right learning conditions which contribute to positive educational outcomes.


Hillsborough County Public Schools expects to complete more than 1,700 projects over the next decade, including more than 200 air conditioning units and 60 aging roofs. We anticipate investing $23 million in upgrading safety and security systems while providing state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. To provide a competitive and robust educational experience, we budgeted $25 million from our existing referendum to new classroom technology — preparing students for college and tomorrow's workforce. This could not have occurred without steadfast support from our entire community.


Our district has worked diligently to communicate these efforts in the spirit of transparency as our stakeholders have entrusted us with a tremendous responsibility to remain fiscally responsible. I am deeply appreciative of the independent Citizen Oversight Committee which has been committed to reviewing all spending as we plan and complete projects. The committee includes members with a wide range of political, geographic, ethnic, and professional backgrounds who selflessly give their time to help our youth.


Despite a global pandemic, these crucial projects have been consistently prioritized and completed during the past two years. I want to thank the community for approving the referendum which will have a lasting impact on our learners for years to come.


Referendum dollars are used exclusively toward capital projects. These funds cannot be utilized for salary increases for our dedicated teachers and other staff members or to bolster classroom resources. Unfortunately, education funding has remained largely stagnant over the last decade in the state of Florida. We must collectively identify alternative revenue streams to support this district’s dedication toward improving working conditions for teachers and staff and providing innovative academic experiences for all learners.


Ensuring proper funding for our schools does not only impact students, teachers, and parents, it has wide-ranging effects on the fabric of our community. The work has only begun, and we remain dedicated to finding sustainable funding sources to ensure our students succeed. Together, we will Accelerate Hillsborough.


Respectfully,

Addison G. Davis, Superintendent of Schools

Background on the Education Referendum

It all started in 2018 when district leaders educated voters in Hillsborough County about the benefits of a half-penny sales tax Education Referendum. In November 2018, voters showed up in force and approved the Education Referendum, a half-penny sales tax.


The money is spent solely on improving our facilities and other capital projects in our schools - replacing air conditioning units, improving old roofs, enhancing security systems, and repaving parking lots, among other necessary projects.


The district remains committed to spending at least $500,000 at every school and we are proudly well on the way to fulfilling that promise.


The half-penny sales tax was estimated to raise approximately $121-131 million per year for ten years, but projections appear to be higher than anticipated. Much of that will be generated by the many visitors that come to the Tampa Bay area, but all of it will benefit students in Hillsborough County.


Once the referendum passed, a Citizen Oversight Committee was assembled to oversee the spending, progress, and completion of school improvement projects and work began.


Throughout the school year, we have smaller referendum projects that take place and does not interrupt student learning. Our major A/C replacements are massive projects requiring crews come into schools to tear out classroom ceilings to replace ductwork, use cranes to lift chiller units, and have numerous workers on-site at one time. Because of that, the work can only be done during the summer, when schools are closed.

Revenue from a half-penny sales tax can only be used on capital expenses, which includes repairs, maintenance, technology, and security.


Those specific projects include:


  • Replacing or overhauling air conditioners
  • Fixing leaky roofs
  • Exterior and interior painting
  • Upgrading safety and security systems
  • Providing state-of-the-art equipment
  • New classroom technology


Aside from our referendum projects, the district’s normal repair and maintenance projects are funded through existing property tax millage. Our district will continue to receive this millage money and will direct it to regular repairs and upgrades.


The referendum funding provides a new source of revenue, accelerating projects that otherwise would not have been tackled for many years or may not have been completed at all.

Citizen Oversight Committee


Working together to provide clear and transparent referendum information to the families of Hillsborough County, the Citizen Oversight Committee oversees the spending on school improvement projects funded by the sales tax funds we receive each month thanks to the passing of the Education Referendum.


The committee, made up of an impressive group with a longstanding commitment to the children and families of Hillsborough County, reviews the spending, progress, and completion of all spending related to funds generated by the half-penny sales. Over this ten-year referendum timeframe, we address essential district needs, including air conditioning, aging roofs, classroom technology, and safety and security improvements.


The committee meets monthly to discuss project updates and finances.


The next meeting will be held on Friday, May 27.



Citizen Oversight Committee Members:


Betty Castor, MEd, Chair

Sheriff Chad Chronister, Vice Chair

Bonnie Carr, Retired CPA

Rick Lott, Plant City Mayor

Ed Narain, MBA, JD

Jose Valiente, CPA

Robert Bhoolai, Principal, Robinson High School

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We have invested more than $355 million into our schools

Since our first check came in April of 2019, which was a $9 million check from January’s sales tax collections we have invested more than $318 million into our schools.


To date, we have invested more than $335 million into our schools.


When the Education Referendum passed in 2018, we forecasted to bring in 120-130 million per year. Fast forward to 2021, we received a little more than $160 million.


We have completed 444 projects and 114 projects are in progress improving our schools.


Last summer we completed 14 major summer projects, investing $73 million into our schools.

What's Next?

Major summer 2022 projects are being finalized and we are looking ahead to secure design and build professionals for our 2023 projects


The architect/engineer teams have been selected for the next ten major projects expected to start during the summer of 2022. Those projects are slated at the following schools:


  • Ballast Point Elementary School
  • Brooker Elementary School
  • Chiles Elementary School
  • Ippolito Elementary School
  • Jackson Elementary School
  • Madison Middle School
  • Martinez Middle School
  • Pierce Middle School
  • Tomlin Middle School
  • Wilson Elementary School


The selection process for these ten schools has concluded for both the design and construction management companies and contracts are being finalized. In addition, there are also 14 other significant projects being planned throughout the remainder of this year and into next summer, which include partial or complete A/C replacements. The schools included in those projects are:


  • Alexander Elementary School
  • Broward Elementary School
  • Bryant Elementary School
  • Buchanan Middle School
  • Cimino Elementary School
  • James Elementary School
  • Lopez Elementary School
  • Rampello K-8 School
  • Robles Elementary School
  • Sulphur Springs K-8 School
  • Symmes Elementary School
  • Tampa Bay Boulevard Elementary School
  • Wilson Middle School
  • Witter Elementary School


Additional scopes of work are being reviewed at the schools listed above, beyond the A/C work.


There are 28 total projects proposed, including four carryover projects at


  • Freedom High School
  • Liberty Middle School
  • Morgan Woods Elementary School
  • Farnell Middle School

Phase 2 at these four schools listed above will be completed by the summer of 2022.


The overall budget for these referendum-funded projects is estimated to be $86,047,184.


We are also looking ahead to summer 2023 projects, getting a selection committee together to hire professionals who can get the job done in a timely and cost-effective manner, with plans to hire those design professionals and construction teams by March. Up to 30 major projects are in the works for 2023, ten of which will take place in our Transformation Network Schools (schools with the highest level of support needed).

Major Projects Completed Last Summer

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“Certainly without that referendum, big projects like these would be almost impossible to do, so we are very grateful to our greater Hillsborough County community for passing the referendum in order for our schools to receive these necessary upgrades. - Principal Cronin, Pizzo K-8 School

More than 55% has been invested into minority, women-owned or small business enterprises:

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Media Center Refresh

Hillsborough County Public Schools is fortunate to be able to provide Equity Refreshes to the Media Centers at 44 Transformation Network schools.


As growth and new construction continue in our county, more than $22 million in capital funds have been set aside to allow for upgrades to technology and facilities in these schools. Over the next seven years, a subset of these schools will be refreshed each year allowing for enhancements to the furniture and equipment in these spaces.


Working with Meteor Education, the district Operations team is leading this project by collaborating with each school site and Academic Services to develop welcoming, high-impact learning environments at these schools.


The hope is that the refreshed Media Centers will create a hub of learning and engagement for both students and staff at these sites. Through these upgrades, we want to ensure that the opportunities and outcomes at these schools remain an area of focus for the district.


Phase 1 of the Equity Refresh project is underway with six schools slated to have their refreshes completed this summer. These schools include Cleveland Elementary, James Elementary, Miles Elementary, Thonotosassa Elementary, Broward Elementary, and Giunta Middle School.

“We are so excited to be able to do these Equity Refreshes for our Transformation Network schools. There has been so much excitement involved in planning these projects, and we can’t wait to see the results. At the end of the day, the impact of this work will be seen in the experiences of our students and employees. When we are able to tap into resources that make our schools more modern, welcoming, and dynamic, everyone wins.” - Patti Simmons, Operational Effectiveness Manager HCPS

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Your Tax Dollars are Going Right Back into our Hillsborough County Public Schools

Aside from completing major air conditioning and roof replacement projects in our schools each year, referendum dollars are also allocated to replace playgrounds, repave tracks and parking lots, and complete interior/exterior painting.


The following completed projects aesthetically enhance our schools, greatly improve physical activity opportunities and provide enhanced safety features for our students.


Playgrounds

Alafia Elementary School

Alexander Elementary School

Alonso High School

Anderson Elementary School

Apollo Beach Elementary School

Ballast Point Elementary School

Bellamy Elementary School

Boyette Springs Elementary School

Brooker Elementary School

Broward Elementary School

Buckhorn Elementary School

Burney Elementary School

Crestwood Elementary School

Claywell Elementary School

Cannella Elementary School

Carrollwood Elementary School

Dickenson Elementary School

Essrig Elementary School

Folsom Elementary School

Foster Elementary School

Graham Elementary School

Gorrie Elementary School

Ippolito Elementary School

King High School

Lake Magdalene Elementary School

Lewis Elementary School

Lithia Springs Elementary School

Lockhart Elementary School

Mango Elementary School

McDonald Elementary School

Mort Elementary School, Community Partnership School

Northwest Elementary School

Pinecrest Elementary School

Potter Elementary School

Riverhills Elementary School

Sessums Elementary School

Seminole Heights Elementary School

Shaw Elementary School

Sickles High School

Symmes Elementary School

Tampa Bay Boulevard Elementary School

Twin Lakes Elementary School

West Tampa Elementary School

Wilson Elementary School

Yates Elementary School


Outdoor Play Court Replacements

Adams Middle School

Boyette Elementary School

Chamberlain High School

Chiaramonte Elementary School

Coleman Middle School

Cypress Creek Elementary School

Dickenson Elementary School

Dunbar Elementary Magnet School

East Bay High School

Greco Middle School, (IB Candidate School)

Hill Middle School

Jackson Elementary School

James Elementary School

Lanier Elementary School

Martinez Middle School

Palm River Elementary School

Seffner Elementary School

Seminole Heights Elementary School

Sessums Elementary School
West Shore Elementary School

West Tampa Elementary School

Woodbridge Elementary School


Repaved Tracks

Alonso High School

Armwood High School

Benito Middle School

Dowdell Middle School

Davidsen Middle School Center for the Arts

Farnell Middle School

Greco Middle School

Hill Middle School

Jefferson High School

King High School

Lennard High School

Leto High School

Mann Middle School

Plant High School

Sickles High School


Repaved Parking Lots

Alexander Elementary School

Ballast Point Elementary School

Booker T. Washington Elementary School

DeSoto Elementary School

Dunbar Elementary School

Gibsonton Elementary School

Graham Elementary School

Kenly Elementary School

Forest Hills Elementary School

Lincoln Elementary Magnet School (IB)

MacFarlane Elementary Magnet School (IB)

Mann Middle School

McLane Middle School

Mendenhall Elementary School

Mitchell Elementary School

Mort Elementary School

Pierce Middle School

Pinecrest Elementary School

Ruskin Elementary School

Shaw Elementary School

Shore Elementary Magnet School

Sligh Middle Magnet School

Thonotosassa Elementary School

Valrico Elementary School

West Shore Elementary School

Wilson Elementary School


Interior & Exterior Painting

Armwood High School

Ballast Point Elementary

Bellamy Elementary School

Brandon High School

Bryant Elementary School

Buchanan Elementary School

Carrollwood Elementary School

Cleveland Elementary School

Cypress Creek Elementary School

Davis Elementary School

Dickenson Elementary School

Dover Elementary School

Dunbar Elementary School

Durant High School

Eisenhower Middle School

Ferrell Middle Magnet School

Foster Elementary School

Franklin Middle Magnet School

Gibsonton Elementary School

Graham Elementary School

Hammond Elementary School

King High School

LaVoy Exceptional Center

Lithia Springs Elementary School

Lopez Elementary School

McDonald Elementary School

McLane Middle School

Mitchell Elementary School

Morgan Woods Elementary School

Newsome High School

Oak Grove Elementary School

Pierce Middle School

Riverwalk STEM Academy at Just Elementary School

Sickles High School

Sligh Middle Magnet School

Stewart Middle Magnet School

Tomlin Middle School

Twin Lakes Elementary School

Orange Grove Middle Magnet School of the Arts

Walker Middle Magnet School (IB)

Webb Middle School

Willis Peters Exceptional Center

Westchase Elementary School


Fire Alarm Control Panel Replacement & Flooring

Adams Middle School

Alonso High School

Ballast Point Elementary School

Bevis Elementary School

Blake High School

Buchanan Middle School

Burney Elementary School

Edison Elementary School

Gibsonton Elementary School

LaVoy Exceptional Center

Leto High School

Liberty Middle School

Pizzo K-8 School

Riverhills Elementary School

Webb Middle School

Woodson K-8 Leadership Academy

Athletic Facility Upgrades at Chamberlain High School

Aside from the recently completed A/C overhaul and intercom system upgrades, some major changes are coming to Chamberlain High school this year, thanks to the taxpayers of Hillsborough County. This month, renovations began to update John Adcock Stadium, Doug Aplin Gymnasium, and several other facilities. The improvements are expected to be completed in August 2022, including new turf!

Athletic Facility Renovations at Chamberlain High School

Scoreboard Upgrade

Thanks to referendum dollars, our outdated baseball, and softball scoreboards have been replaced at high schools across our District, just in time for the start of the season!


The total investment is close to $12,000,000, with the goal of advertising sponsorships significantly offsetting the costs over the next five years.


Next up? We have begun the prep work for the installation of our 28 stadium scoreboards.

Media Coverage

Click here to read the Osprey Observer article

A Half-Penny Makes A Big Difference For Schools

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Click here to view the ABC Action News coverage

Hillsborough County Public Schools provides update on referendum projects

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Click here to view the Bay News 9 coverage

Hillsborough County schools getting millions of dollars in upgrades this summer

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Click here to view the WTSP Channel 10 News coverage

Transparency with your tax dollars: How Hillsborough Schools is spending your money

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Check out $10 million invested into Leto High School

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