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October 30, 2018

PUT KIDS FIRST | Why You Should Support the No. 3 Hillsborough County Referendum

By Alisha Stephens

On Ballot as No. 3 Hillsborough County Referendum: “Referendum on One-Half Cent Sales Surtax for Public School Air Conditioning and Capital Improvements” 


The Nov. 6 ballot will include a one-half cent sales surtax referendum to raise much-needed funds for Hillsborough County Public Schools. Our schools critically need these funds to repair and replace air conditioners, fix leaky roofs, and improve classroom technology and school security.

My child attends a great public school – I don’t see any funding problems.

Despite Florida’s public education funding is 44th in the nation, Hillsborough County Public Schools are accomplishing amazing things. Imagine what our schools could do if they received adequate funding! The underfunding of public schools has hit crisis levels and we now have over a billion dollars of deferred maintenance. We have schools that need new roofs, A/C’s, classroom technology and additional security. All our children deserve to go to school in a safe and comfortable environment for learning.

 My child (will) attends private school – why should I vote for this?

  • Public schools are one of the leading drivers of property values. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, home values in Florida can vary anywhere between $50,000 and $300,000 based on the neighborhood school ratings.
  • Better schools lead to a better economy. Hillsborough County’s increased graduation rates from public schools since 2015 has had a $670 million impact on the economy.

My child isn’t in school yet – how does this affect me?

Your child stands to benefit the most from referendum funds. Our county faces a $1 billion deferred maintenance challenge that will only worsen without this referendum. Our schools are performing well despite these challenges; imagine what will be possible with optimum learning conditions and teacher working conditions.

How can I learn more about the referendum?

The District has created this comprehensive referendum took kit that answers almost any question you might have about the referendum.


PTA is the oldest and largest child advocacy organization in the country. It is our duty to advocate for the needs of our children, including and especially funding for our schools. Public education advocacy is a nonpartisan issue. PTA does not support any specific candidates or political parties.

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