Scenario 4 Boundary Proposal ReleasedPosted by Addison Davis on 2/9/2023 4:30:00 PM
As Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools, it is my responsibility to ensure every student receives a quality education. One of the most difficult decisions district leaders must consider in doing so are school boundary changes. Since last summer, Hillsborough County Public Schools has undergone a countywide boundary analysis looking at student enrollment, future growth, and facility optimization.
Over the years, some schools have seen a significant change in student population – some areas are still growing while other neighborhoods have fewer families with school-aged children. Families may also be choosing other educational options for their children.
At the upcoming February 13th School Board Workshop, I will make a recommendation for Scenario 4. This plan was developed after gathering parent, staff, and community feedback that will create stability for students using a multiphase, multiyear approach. If approved, Scenario 4 will be phased in using the timeline below:
Scenario #4 Implementation Timeline
2023-2024 – Phase I
Expand to 6th Grade
Reboundary all students.
Town & Country Elementary
All students remain. Launch Newcomer’s Center in part of school
2024-2025 – Phase II
All boundary adjustments, except Just Elementary, take effect
Expand to 7th Grade
Reboundary all students. District offices moved to facility
Reboundary all students. District offices moved to facility
Reboundary all students.
All students remain. District offices use part of facility
Reboundary all students. District offices moved to facility
Reboundary all students.
All students remain. District offices use part of facility
2025-2026 – Phase III
Expand to 8th Grade
2026-2027 – Phase IV
Launch middle school
College Preparatory Academy
In order to identify the impact of Scenario 4, please visit www.hcps-boundary.org to see the recommended school boundary adjustments as the webpage will be live at 5:00 p.m. It is important to note that all staff will keep their positions and more information will be forthcoming.
Under this plan, beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, approximately 15,000 assigned students will be reassigned to a new school boundary. Assigned students are defined as every student that lives in a school boundary, inclusive of students who are currently attending HCPS neighborhood schools, charter schools, private schools, home school, virtual school, choice schools, and magnet schools. The actual number of students impacted will likely be less and will be determined once students arrive in August of 2024.
Scenario 4 creates the least student disruption districtwide while addressing many factors considered during our boundary analysis. This plan has been developed to:
- Reduce the number of very over-utilized and very under-utilized schools from 23 to 0;
- Increase the number of schools in the well-utilized range (80%-95%) from 67 to 79;
- Reduce the number of schools under 60% capacity from 13 to 0;
- Reduce the distance students travel to school by 39,862 miles;
- Reduce transportation reoccurring costs by $5,339,439;
- Increase annual reoccurring cost savings by $12,841,772.02 (including the above transportation savings).
In an effort to sustain academic momentum, I will also recommend the following grade levels be grandfathered into their current schools for the 2024-2025 school year without transportation:
- Rising 5th grader students;
- Rising 8th grade students;
- Rising 11th grade students;
- Rising 12th grade students.
Scenario 4 allows a phased-in approach that provides one year for impacted families to attend school-based tours, events, and orientations at their new school. This will create opportunities for families and students to learn more about academic programs, clubs, extracurricular activities, and available resources.
Again, if approved by the School Board, the boundary changes will take effect for the 2024-2025 school year: except for Just Elementary School. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to offer feedback in this process as this was so important in shaping my recommendation. Understanding the difficulty with making this decision, know that I am committed to ensuring that every learner receives a high-quality education.
Community Input Needed for Hillsborough Schools Boundary AnalysisPosted by Addison Davis on 1/20/2023 2:55:00 PM
Hillsborough County Public Schools has achieved an impressive financial turnaround over the past three years, transitioning from a $150 million operational budget shortfall to a surplus for the first time in over a decade. This tremendous feat was reached through strategic fiscal initiatives with a focus on maximizing every educational dollar for our children.
As Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools, it is my job to ensure this district remains on sound financial footing in order to protect our collective future. It is for this reason that HCPS is undergoing a thorough boundary analysis to examine how to best utilize our buildings as good stewards of your tax dollars. This will focus on both underutilized and overutilized schools to address population shifts to better balance student enrollment throughout the county. When our schools are filled at the proper levels, they are more efficient and create an annual cost savings. This is a bold, but much needed move for our district which has never embarked on a boundary analysis of this magnitude.
While no final decisions have been made, this project may have several implications for between 6 and 14% of our families. Depending on your address, your student may be assigned to a different school next year. There are also a dozen under-enrolled schools that may be repurposed to turn into anything from a new magnet school to additional offices for staff.
The most important part of this analysis is receiving feedback from our stakeholders. To have your voice heard, visit hcps-boundary.org to view each scenario and potential impacts it could have on your student. There is also an opportunity within that web tool to leave your thoughts and comments that Board Members will have the opportunity to consider when voting in February.
Each scenario will save our district millions of dollars over the course of the next few years. The more aggressively we address these pressing issues, the more financial benefits we will realize. While change can be difficult, this boundary analysis will place us in a more solid financial stature as we continually work to gain our community’s trust as a good financial steward of our tax dollars.
It is also important to note that no jobs will be lost in any of the possible adjustments. Your feedback is critical as we identify the best way forward for our learners, and we encourage families to visit the web tool or one of our ten in-person meetings in January. We are confident this analysis will enhance the educational experience for all learners.
Community Partners Shine for Hillsborough County Public Schools StudentsPosted by Addison Davis on 12/1/2022 8:00:00 AMAt Hillsborough County Public Schools, we strive to provide not only the best educational experience for all students, but also a safe and nurturing environment to promote overall well-being. We as educators cannot do this important work in isolation.This week I want to shine a light on some incredible community partners that have stepped up for our students to help end hunger. In a diverse district of our size, unfortunately food insecurity is a challenge for so many families, especially as we fight inflation and other economic stressors. While we provide our learners two meals per day to fuel their education, some families have fallen on hard times and cannot provide enough food for students at home.First, I want to thank The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mosaic Company, and feeding Tampa Bay for creating a new food pantry at Lamb Elementary to help fight food insecurity in the community. To celebrate, the Buccaneers treated our students to a field day with several players in attendance while promoting overall wellness and physical activity. This type of partnership is so critical to families who need the extra help. A pantry like this one means that students will not go to bed hungry and will be able to perform at their highest potential while they are learning in the classroom.The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed up for our children again this week in partnership with Pepsi. GenYouth and the Florida Diary Council to donate 1,000 meals to students in need. Fighting food insecurity is not only important for the overall well-being of our students, but it makes our community stronger.Our community partners are such an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to preparing our students for life. I thank not only these incredible organizations, but all of our community partners who are helping our district with time, money, and treasures to ensure our students succeed both inside and outside the classroom.
Tropical Storm NicolePosted by Addison Davis on 11/9/2022 11:00:00 AM
The district has worked closely with local emergency management officials over the past few days to monitor Tropical Storm Nicole. The latest official forecast track for this storm puts it closer to our region, and we are now advised that we could see sustained wind levels that would make it dangerous for students to be transported to school on Thursday. Our school buses cannot be on the roads when sustained winds reach 35 mph. Currently, forecasters are expecting sustained winds to reach above 35+ mph in Hillsborough County.
It is for this reason and our priority to keep students and staff safe that we have made the decision to cancel school on Thursday, November 10. As previously scheduled, students are already off for Veterans Day on Friday, November 11.
Our district and so many others have already adjusted school calendars following Hurricane Ian to ensure students receive statutorily required instructional minutes. As a result of this latest closure, and in order to preserve the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday week, we will plan our district's make up day for Monday, January 9, 2023, as the last day of the first semester. That Monday will be a full school day and not early release.
Although Tropical Storm Nicole is not a powerful hurricane, it can still affect your home and family. Please follow local media stations for the latest information on the storm's path. Most importantly, stay safe.
Hurrican Ian Make Up DaysPosted by Addison Davis on 10/7/2022 12:00:00 PM
I am glad that we are getting back to a sense of normalcy after the events of last week. We continue to work with staff that may have been impacted by the storm and hope that all our colleagues are safe and well. As a follow up to my previous email, I want to update you on the status of our missed instructional days. District leaders have been reviewing the Student Calendar and working with state education leaders to determine how many school days must be made up.
By state law, for students to receive full credit for their classes, they must fulfill a minimum number of hours in class each semester. State requirements do not allow districts to utilize instructional time from the second semester to make up for days missed in the first semester.
Our district prepares for situations like this by building extra instructional time into our academic calendar. It has been determined we must only make up two school days.
In order to preserve the entire week off for Thanksgiving Break, we have identified the following days as makeup:
- Monday, October 17 will be a full student day (not Early Release) instead of a teacher planning day
- We will extend six Early Release Days into full school days.
Through collaboration with our employee unions, the following Mondays will now become full school days:
- November 7
- November 14
- November 28
- December 5
- December 12
- December 19
There will not be a need for changes to the payroll schedule with this new work time since all staff were paid their full salary the week the district was closed. However, if an employee takes leave during this new instructional time, they will need to use their annual leave.
District leaders explored multiple scenarios including requesting the Florida Department of Education waive the missed instructional hours; however, the state has directed all school districts to use available time in their academic calendars to maintain statutory requirements. We believe this plan will have the least impact on making up required instructional minutes and allow for a much-needed week off at Thanksgiving.
Programs & Events Will Honor Hispanic Heritage MonthPosted by Addison Davis on 9/15/2022 10:00:00 AM
The diverse student body within Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) not only makes our district unique, but it also makes us stronger. With more than 80,000 students identifying as Hispanic in our community, it is important to celebrate during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins on Thursday, September 15 and ends on Saturday, October 15. While we have a variety of special tributes, programs and celebrations throughout our campuses to honor contributions that Hispanics have made to our nation, I want to also share how HCPS celebrates Hispanic culture each and every day.
At the beginning of this academic year, our district hosted an Immigrant Welcome Center at Leto Adult School to provide one central location for the influx of Cuban residents expected into Tampa Bay. District staff worked diligently on-site to provide assistance with registration, physicals and immunizations, as well as offer resources like food and clothing. We realize standing together to welcome our growing Hispanic community is critical to our mission and to student achievement.
Families will again benefit from Pasos al Futuro, a series of events aimed at helping students in grades 8-12 to prepare for high school, college and the workforce. The kickoff event will be held at the University of South Florida, the first time it has ever been hosted on a college campus. These presentations will be entirely in Spanish to educate families on requirements for college admission, explain how to apply for financial aid and give an overview on the application process. This program is a critical component to connect with families about postsecondary opportunities.
The National Parent School Partnership Program is another chance for HCPS families to become engaged in their student’s educational journey. We work with Spanish-speaking families to empower them to advocate for their student while building a more effective parent-school partnership.
Whether in the classroom, through a learning series or in an arts performance, your child will enjoy a variety of events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at their school as we aim to celebrate this unique culture and all it has to offer. Our staff will have the opportunity to engage in Hispanic culture learning opportunities with a professional development series.
We must also remember to acknowledge and celebrate this growing community year-round by continually providing unique opportunities and unwavering support to our Hispanic families, educators and staff. When we commemorate Hispanic culture this month, we celebrate our community’s diversity.
Millage Referendum UpdatePosted by Addison Davis on 8/24/2022 11:05:00 AM
As the proud superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools, I want to thank our community for becoming educated on the millage referendum and being a part of yesterday’s democratic process.
Despite our efforts to inform voters on what the ballot item would mean for our district, unofficial results indicate that the millage referendum did not pass by 619 votes. Under state law, a countywide recount will take place as the margin is less than one half of one percent.
If the unofficial results stand, it will not change our efforts as we fight to increase education funding for students and staff. The following facts remain:
- We are facing an alarming teacher shortage due in part to salary levels.
- Florida is ranked near the bottom in education funding nationally.
- Hillsborough County is ranked 45th in state and local per-pupil funding.
- 23 Florida school districts – many bordering Hillsborough County – now have an additional millage allowing them to enhance compensation packages for teachers, administrators, and support staff
Please know we will be back in 2024 to ask the Board to place a millage referendum on the ballot, asking voters for additional funding to further support education. As the 7th largest district in the nation, we must do everything possible to inform our community on how education is funded in Florida and push lawmakers to help us create the best educational system for our children.
Thank you for your continued trust and support of Hillsborough County Public Schools
Congratulations on an Amazing Academic PerformancePosted by Addison Davis on 7/8/2022I want to take a moment to congratulate all educators, support staff, administrators, leaders, and Board Members on a significant milestone: Hillsborough County Public Schools has been elevated into the top 20 school districts in the state following the release of district and school grades. In 2019, our district was ranked 35th out of 67 counties academically. Today, I am proud to announce that 96% of our schools attained a "C" grade or higher, catapulting HCPS to #19 in the state.Understand that we could not celebrate today's tremendous news without the tireless efforts from our dedicated and talented educators and support staff who consistently displayed the passion and discipline needed to bolster student achievement. I want to extend my appreciation to school-based leaders who guided this important work during one of the most unique academic years in memory. Each one played an integral part in realizing this success.I also want to highlight the fact that several chronically challenged schools in our district’s Transformation Network far exceeded expectations. We have projected to eliminate nearly half of all persistently low performing schools following this year’s stellar performance. The below charts provide a preliminary look at information contained within the state accountability report.As of now, we are still analyzing district and school-based data points and working to identify our areas of opportunities that will propel us to become a systemic “A” school district. Again, I am so proud of each of our employees as their sacrifices and dedication to excellence continue to inspire me. This is just the beginning of what we will achieve together.All HCPS Schools (Traditional and Charter)District Managed Schools (includes TN)Charter Schools OnlyTransformation Network Only*Schools in parenthesis are currently issued an "Incomplete". These schools have been tentatively counted in their projected grade based on the district's calculations.
This data will be revised as the official grade is released from the FLDOE.
Hillsborough County Public Schools Students Outpace State Average in Newly Released Science and Social Studies Assessment ScoresPosted by Addison Davis on 7/1/2022 12:00:00 PM
We at Hillsborough County Public Schools are celebrating another round of impressive assessment scores that outperformed the state average in key areas including Algebra, Geometry, Biology, Civics, and U.S. History. Despite pandemic related stressors including student absences and teacher vacancies, scores increased in every subject area.
- Civics: 72% score, up by 11 percentage points
- Algebra: 60% score, an increase of 6 percent
- Geometry: 53% score, a jump of 7 percent
- U.S. History: 69% score, a 2-percentage point jump
- Biology: 62% score, an increase of 2 percent
Our district’s Algebra, Biology, Civics, and U.S. History assessment outcomes represent the highest scores in comparable and contiguous districts (Broward, Miami Dade, Duvall, Palm Beach, Orange, Pinellas, Manatee, Pasco, and Polk Counties). Fifth and sixth grade sciences saw an increase of 2 and 1 percentage points respectively.
This data represents the tireless commitment demonstrated by our teachers, support staff, and leaders toward student achievement. As we continue on our quest to rebound from the negative effects of the last two years, it is evident that we are leveraging our resources effectively through the hands of our talented and dedicated educators.
These scores come on the heels of equally impressive assessment performances in Mathematics, which increased overall and outpaced the state average in key areas. Third through eighth grade Mathematics scores increased by 4%, while Algebra 1 performance increased by 6%. African-American and Hispanic student performance jumped by 6% in Mathematics. Our district also broadly sustained assessment scores in English and Language Arts (ELA).
How the Millage Referendum Could Help Our CommunityPosted by Addison Davis on 6/3/2022 7:00:00 AM
Since arriving in March 2020 as the Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools, our team has worked diligently to address the financial challenges that have plagued this district for close to a decade. By the end of this fiscal year, Hillsborough County Public Schools is slated to overcome a $150 million deficit, realizing a more stable financial stature that will translate into a brighter future for our organization, and most importantly, for our students.
However, a new challenge has emerged in the wake of the global pandemic that is undermining the mission of educational institutions across our country. We are in the midst of a “Great Resignation” that has already stifled the progress of addressing the academic learning loss that has occurred as a result of school closures. There are already over 500,000 fewer teachers in the U.S. than prior to the start of the pandemic. Hillsborough has not been immune to this reality and is seeking ways to recruit and retain the very best educators to keep our schools and community strong for years to come.
As we continue our quest to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers, our district is simultaneously contending with rising inflation and stagnant wages, contributing to the exodus of teachers and support staff. Our school system has no other alternative than to examine additional funding sources to increase teacher salaries, thus ensuring the best educational experiences for learners every day. The School Board has voted on my recommendation to place a millage referendum on the August 23, 2022, ballot that would provide an estimated $146 million annually over four years to our district if approved. There are a variety of benefits to raising the millage that will be realized over the course of four years.
Our school system has no other alternative than to examine additional funding sources to increase teacher salaries, thus ensuring the best educational experiences for learners every day.
The School Board has voted on my recommendation to place a millage referendum on the August 23, 2022, ballot that would provide an estimated $146 million annually over four years to our district if approved. There are a variety of benefits to raising the millage that will be realized over the course of four years.
How Would the Additional Money Be Used?
It is important to note that Florida is ranked 43rd in the nation in per-pupil funding, leaving many school districts like Hillsborough County without adequate funds needed to recruit and retain a highly qualified workforce. Our students deserve to have the best educational experience possible, which is dependent on having the best teachers and staff in front of our students.
If this millage referendum is approved by voters, the additional funds would be utilized in the following manner:
- Teacher & Staff Salaries: 75% of the district’s share of funds would be utilized to increase the salaries of teachers and staff. Currently, our district has more than 400 instructional and 600 support staff vacancies. By raising teacher pay, we could positively impact the staffing shortages that we are experiencing locally, similar to the national trends.
- Expand Art, Music, and P.E.: Our youngest learners do not have equitable access to these important subjects due to funding constraints in these areas. Studies show children are more successful not only in the classroom but in life when offered adequate arts and music education. With the additional revenue, we will be able to add 45 art teachers, 67 music teachers, and 37 physical education teachers to provide a well-rounded education to all students.
- Elevate Workforce Development initiatives: Preparing our students for high-paying careers directly following graduation is one of our district’s highest priorities. We have announced innovative plans to open three new high schools dedicated to developing rich talent pipelines for students in medical, construction, and logistics related fields. Additional funding would further enhance offerings as we continue to provide new educational pathways for learners that will make an immediate impact on our local economy.
What Does the Millage Rate Increase Mean for Homeowners?
A millage rate is the amount of property value that is used to calculate property taxes. Voters will be asked whether to approve a one mil increase in ad valorem tax that would begin on July 1, 2023, and end on June 30, 2027.
You may be wondering how this would impact you if approved. Using a $300,000 property value as an example, the millage increase would translate to an additional $22.92 per month, or $275 per year for a homeowner. The breakdown below shows a variety of property values and the corresponding millage increase.
Have Other Districts Asked for a Millage Increase?
The challenges Hillsborough County Public Schools faces are not unique to our district. In fact, 21 Florida school districts have asked voters for a millage increase to increase teacher pay and invest in innovative classroom experiences.
When comparing Florida’s five largest districts, Hillsborough County Public Schools is the only one that has not passed a millage increase. Taxpayers in 21 Florida counties have approved this additional funding source to provide additional compensation for teachers and staff to better compete with other districts and other industries.
Hillsborough is the only large school district in the state that has not passed a millage increase. This places our school district in a position where we are unable to compete for the high-quality talent we need to provide the best educational experience for our students.
Hillsborough’s Proven Financial Stewardship
Our community previously championed the halfpenny sales tax, which can only be used to address facility needs, to improve aging infrastructure throughout our 230+ schools. As of March 2022, our district responsibly invested $416 million to overhaul air conditioners, repair roofs, improve security and technology, as well as other projects such as repairing playgrounds and basketball courts.
Our district created an oversight committee comprised of district, city, and state leaders to ensure every dollar is spent responsibly. This group meets regularly to review spending, progress, and completion of all halfpenny sales tax related expenditures.
We will continue to act as reliable stewards of taxpayer funds if the millage is passed. Hillsborough County Public Schools pledges transparency and accountability as evidenced by our previous efforts toward the halfpenny sales tax.
When Can Your Voice Be Heard?
I encourage community members to educate yourselves on this initiative in order to make your decision at the ballot box.
If you are not registered to vote, you must do so by the July 25 deadline. Additionally, voters can cast their ballots during the early voting period August 8-21, 2022. Election Day is August 23, 2022.
Quality schools are the bedrock of a vibrant community. This much needed revenue has the potential to make an enormous difference for our teachers, staff, students, families, and the entire community at large.