Tax referendum will be discussed in the Hillsborough School Board meeting

Published May 15 2018

Superintendent Jeff Eakins added a brief item to Tuesday afternoon's agenda. It consists of one sentence: "I will explore the options available to our school district for a possible referendum."

District leaders have been dancing around the idea of asking taxpayers to kick in more money for the schools for the last two years.

The arguments and counter-arguments go like this: Other districts, including Pinellas and Orange counties, have succeeded in raising money that can help pay their teachers a competitive salary, or keep facilities in good working order. But, until now, Eakins and several board members have warned that they do not have enough credibility, based on the way they managed money in the past, to get enough votes.

This year could be different. Basic school funding from the state increased an average of 47 cents per student, and the school budget types say inflation will eat up that much and more. As more districts benefit from special taxes, it will be more difficult to stop Hillsborough's top teachers from leaving for higher pay elsewhere.

The Times will cover this and other discussions with live tweets.