The Hillsborough County Public School (HCPS) District is ‘Investing In Students’ by proposing a referendum for a half-cent sales surtax increase to generate funding to improve schools. Voters will see this proposed education tax referendum on ballots November 6.
If approved, the estimated $131 million in annual sales tax income over ten years would be in effect January 1, 2019. HCPS recently released a school-by-school list of 1,785 projects to be funded by the proposed half-cent sales tax with an estimated $637 million earmarked for air conditioning systems. Other projects include building and renovating school, maintenance, security and technology.
A typical family in Hillsborough County would pay $63 a year. The amount is based on IRS sales tax tables for a typical household with the county’s median annual income of $51,681.
The tax would effect only purchases on items like clothes and consumer goods or big items such as a car or boat up to $5,000. It will not be used to eleviate the deficit .
The Citizens Oversight Committee of seven members headed by former state education commissioner Betty Castor will be formed to include six private citizens who cannot have any connection with the district or benefit financially from the projects.
Alliance for Public Schools, Melissa Erickson says, “if tourists travel the I-4 corridor, Hillsborough County is the only county you don’t pay sales tax to support schools.” With HCPS currently receiving the lowest sales of one eighth penny sales tax, it still has the highest overall performance score in 2017-18 State of Florida Accountability Report.
Superintendent Jeff Eakins is on a tour of town hall meetings to share information about the state of the Hillsborough school district, opportunities for students, and the $2 billion challenge the community faces because of inadequate state funding.
Upcoming community appearances include October 15, 7 p.m. at Middleton High School, 4801 N 22nd St. in Tampa and October 23, 7 p.m. at the Chapel at FishHawk, 6026 Churchside Dr. in Lithia.
For information about tax referendum, visit https://sdhc.k12.fl.us/. For a list of school improvements, visit https://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/docs/00/00/23/08/Education_Referendum_School_by_School_List_v2.pdf.