Hillsborough County voters will have the opportunity to strengthen our schools and community by deciding on a one mil referendum in the primary election ballot on August 23rd. The one mil referendum will:
- Increase salaries to retain and recruit teachers and staff
- Expand art, music, and physical education
- Expand workforce development and workforce education programs
Because of inadequate funding from the state and federal government, these additional dollars are necessary to support the 7th largest school district in the nation.
Hillsborough County Public Schools currently has more than 220,000 students and 23,815 employees – of which 14,181 are teachers.
Teachers Weigh In
Referendum Ballot Language
Community Stakeholder Presentation
How to Calculate One Millage Increase
April 12 – School Board Workshop on the millage referendum
April 19 – The School Board of Hillsborough County approved Resolution 22-500
May 4 – Hillsborough County Board of County Commission considers placing Resolution 22-500 on August 23, 2022, primary election ballot
June 13 – Final ballot language is submitted to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections
April-August – Community meetings to share information about the millage referendum
August 23 – Voters decide whether to approve the referendum during the primary election
- Hillsborough County ranks 45th among 67 Florida districts in state and local per-pupil funding.
- Instructional vacancies have increased 220% over the six years; 44% since the start of the pandemic.
- Inflation has significantly outpaced the increases in education funding over the last 15 years.
- Florida ranks 45th in total per-pupil funding nationally.
- Surrounding school districts have secured additional revenue through local voter-approved referendums and other local sources that provide a competitive advantage over Hillsborough County.
- School districts have not received discretionary lottery funding in the past two years.
- Florida has 4,000 instructional vacancies, and 9,000 vacancies are anticipated by the end of the year.
- There are an average of 400 instructional and 575 support staff vacancies in Hillsborough County Public Schools throughout this school year.
- The cost of living in Tampa has risen over 10% since 2019, which makes recruiting and retaining staff more difficult.
- Local employers pay higher wages, and teachers have a broad range of attractive skills to private industries.
- Increased student enrollment will create demand for additional teachers and support staff when it is already challenging to fill its vacancies.
The projected $146 million received annually would be explicitly used in the following manner:
- At least 75% of the district share of funds would be used to increase compensation for instructional positions (teachers, counselors, media specialists, etc.), bus drivers and transportation assistants, classroom assistants, and other non-instructional support staff.
- This could enhance the average instructional salary by $4,000 and the average non-instructional salary by $2,000.
- About 20% of the district's share of funds would be used to protect and expand art, music, PE, and workforce education as follows:
- Add 45 art teachers, 67 music teachers, and 37 PE teachers to Elementary schools to ensure all grade levels, including Kindergarten, receive exceptional learning experiences.
- Dedicate funds to repairing and replacing art supplies, art equipment, music instruments, band uniforms, audio/visual equipment, expanding health courses in middle school, and PE equipment.
- Dedicate funds to expanding workforce education programs.
Oversight from the Finance Advisory Committee
The funds generated from the millage referendum will have oversight from an independent Finance Advisory Committee – a group comprised of fifteen community members from a variety of backgrounds including finance, education, private business, and community advocacy.
This advisory group was formed by the School Board in 2021 to collaborate with district leaders and ensure further transparency related to financial challenges facing Hillsborough County Public Schools.
The Financial Advisory Committee does not have the power to make financial or budgetary decisions for the School Board or the District, but rather provides input, perspective, and recommendations to the School Board.
Back in 2018, after the passing of the half-penny sales tax Education Referendum, Hillsborough County Public Schools created a similar group – the Citizen Oversight Committee (COC). Based on the success of the COC, district leaders have decided a similar structure will be created to review the spending and progress related to funds generated by the one mil ad valorem tax. Our district would like to thank the members of the Finance Advisory Committee for agreeing to take on this new, important role. All expenditures associated with the millage referendum will also be published on the district’s website annually.
'Strong Schools, Stronger Hillsborough': One Mil Referendum Questions Answered
Frequently Asked Questions
With property values increasing, why isn’t the district getting more funding from property taxes?
Why is the School Board asking voters to approve a one mil increase in ad valorem taxes?
How much money will the one mil bring into the district, and for how long?
How much of a raise will that mean for the average teacher?
Why isn’t there enough money to pay out of the operational budget?
What about all that money the district received from the American Recovery Act?
Where will this money go besides teacher compensation?
Why not wait for the general election in November to put it on the ballot instead of the primary election in August?
What is the cost of the one-mil increase for property owners?
Doesn’t the lottery help pay for education?
What is the economic impact of investing in quality schools?
Isn’t this the wrong time to ask for a tax increase with inflation and rising property values already creating higher costs?
How can the public be assured that the district is spending money as it should?
Didn’t the Governor and Legislature give teachers a raise?
Why are teachers leaving the profession?
Do other school districts also have a millage referendum?
How does Hillsborough County Public Schools compare to other large school districts in Florida in total per-pupil funding?
Which staff members would benefit from the salary increases?
What is the difference between this one mil ad valorem referendum and the half-penny sales tax Education Referendum passed in November 2018?
Why would property owners in Hillsborough County who do not have children in Hillsborough County Public Schools agree to pay more?
Is the district currently on sound financial footing?