More than Half a Billion Dollars Invested in our Schools

Background on the Half-Penny Sales Tax Referendum

  • playgroundIn November 2018, we educated voters in Hillsborough County about the benefits of a Half-Penny Sales Tax Referendum.

    The money would go solely to improving the 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.

    Voters showed up in force and approved the Half-Penny Sales Tax Referendum.

    In proposing the Referendum, district leaders committed to spending at least $500,000 at every school. We are proudly well on the way to fulfilling that commitment.

    The half-penny sales tax was estimated to raise approximately $121-131 million per year for ten years. 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 and completion of the school improvement projects.

    Working together to provide clear and transparent referendum information to the families and citizens of Hillsborough County, the Citizen Oversight Committee meets monthly to oversee and discuss the school improvement projects that are funded by the Half-Penny Sales Tax Referendum.

    The committee is made up of an impressive group with a longstanding commitment to the children and families of Hillsborough County. The committee takes great consideration as they review the spending, progress and completion of the projects funded by the half-penny sales tax.

Fast Facts

  • Funding from the Half-Penny Sales Tax Referendum is spent on specific projects to improve our public schools:

    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

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Project Updates

  • DeSoto Elementary A/CSince our first round of funds arrived in April of 2019—$9 million from that January’s sales tax collection—we have completed more than 600 projects, 57 of those projects being air conditioning overhauls.
    During the summer of 2023, 14 major construction projects, including air conditioning overhauls, took place. This year, $87 million was invested in major A/C upgrades, fire alarm system replacements and other infrastructure improvements. 
    More than $67 million has been invested in our prioritized maintenance projects. This includes interior/exterior painting, roof replacements, gym floors, tracks, playgrounds, courts, and fire and security upgrades.   
    During the summer of 2024, our operations department will oversee 14 major construction projects. Our district has been and continues to be conservative with the number of projects being completed over the next year and will continually reassess and prioritize projects as needed, now more than ever, due to construction costs and labor shortages.  
    Welding construction worker
    As of August 2023, we have invested more than $607 million into our schools, with $191 million awarded to local businesses and more then 46% awarded to small and minority-owned businesses. As a result, our district uses more minority-owned businesses than other districts in the area.  
    These infrastructure improvements would not be possible without support from our community and the taxpayers of Hillsborough County. We thank you for realizing the importance of these essential projects and the positive impacts these project completions have on the teaching and learning environment in our schools.

Half-Penny Sales Tax Referendum Update