Monday, November 12, 2018

It’s official: Hillsborough voters will decide on half-cent tax for schools in November

The Hillsborough County Commission on Thursday agreed to ask voters, on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, if they are willing to pay a half-cent sales surtax to meet capital needs in the schools.

Although the school district item was included on the county commission's consent agenda, member Stacy White – himself a former School Board member – expressed concerns about what might happen if the measure doesn't pass.

School board member Cindy Stuart, who pushed for the November referendum at that board's meeting on Aug. 24, said she thinks the district should be prepared to try again in March, and more times after that if necessary.

White, on Thursday, pointed out that the March election is for municipal races only, and the school district would have to take other measures to make sure it puts the question to voters countywide.

"l'm not sure at this point in time where I stand on the March back-up date," White said. "But I do want to make sure the residents in unincorporated Hillsborough County are treated fairly."

He suggested that staffs from the two branches of government work together and consider recent legal decisions affecting special elections.

The district, in the meantime, released a large-type document labeled Referendum Details that included photographs of children and listed benefits such as "raising property values," "creating high quality jobs," and "better preparing our area for hurricanes."

But the district has not yet released a school-by-school, item-by-item list showing exactly how it will spend the $1.31 billion that it expects the tax will raise over 10 years.

Some hints about the expenditures can be found in the district's five-year capital improvement plan, a document it submits to the state every year even though there is never enough money available to complete the projects listed.

Officials also have not said who will serve on the seven-member oversight committee, beyond the fact that six of the private citizens will not be affiliated with the district. Information on both issues is expected shortly.

Times Staff writer Chris O'Donnell contributed to this report. 

Comments
Hudson Elementary staff, families hope to halt proposal to close school

Hudson Elementary staff, families hope to halt proposal to close school

The Pasco County superintendent has recommended shutting down the campus in 2021.
Updated: 7 hours ago
Florida education news: School funding, board members, student testing and more

Florida education news: School funding, board members, student testing and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Published: 11/12/18
Florida voters are saying yes when school districts ask for more money. Is that a good thing?

Florida voters are saying yes when school districts ask for more money. Is that a good thing?

Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins takes a clear message from last week's election, which saw many Floridians vote to tax themselves more to help public schools meet rising costs.People see the challenges firsthand and "they know t...
Published: 11/12/18
Linda Lerner steps away after 28 years on the Pinellas School Board. ‘I wanted to make things better for everybody’

Linda Lerner steps away after 28 years on the Pinellas School Board. ‘I wanted to make things better for everybody’

Linda Lerner, one of Florida's longest-serving school officials with nearly three decades on the Pinellas County School Board, will step down Tuesday, leaving her seat for one of three new members elected last week.The decision was difficult, Lerner ...
Published: 11/12/18
ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Nov. 5, 2018

ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of Nov. 5, 2018

Can Florida’s courts determine what a “high quality” education system looks like? Or is that too subjective a term? The Florida Supreme Court has that question before it, as it determines whether a 9-year-old school funding adequacy...
Published: 11/10/18
President of Ybor City’s Hillsborough Community College campus will step down, return to teaching

President of Ybor City’s Hillsborough Community College campus will step down, return to teaching

Shawn Robinson, president of Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus since 2007, is stepping down to return to teaching.In an email announcing the news Friday, Robinson said "it is time for a change." He will relocate to the college's Brand...
Published: 11/09/18
How did all those Florida school board races turn out?

How did all those Florida school board races turn out?

Twenty-seven percent of incumbents either resigned or lost.
Published: 11/09/18
New Florida House education leader named

New Florida House education leader named

Mount Dora Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan is a vocal backer of school choice programs.
Published: 11/09/18
Florida education news: Funding lawsuit, school names, missing money and more

Florida education news: Funding lawsuit, school names, missing money and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Published: 11/09/18
Hillsborough County School District will consider renaming Lee Elementary

Hillsborough County School District will consider renaming Lee Elementary

Tampa, let's name that school.With the Hillsborough County School Board committed to rebuilding fire-ravaged Lee Elementary, the time has come to decide what to call it.Students, parents and teachers call the place "Lee." But the full name on the red...
Published: 11/08/18
Updated: 11/09/18