By Superintendent Addison Davis
Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) 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 percent 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 www.hcps-boundary.org to view each scenario and the 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 10 in-person meetings this month. We are confident this analysis will enhance the educational experience for all learners.