Hillsborough superintendent says job cuts are 'last resort' with school district's $140M budget shortfall

Hillsborough County’s superintendent of schools has big decisions to make this week on possibly cutting more than a thousand jobs.

Addison Davis believes Hillsborough’s $140-million budget shortfall is the largest ever faced by a Florida school district.

"It’s the last resort a superintendent ever wants to do is to talk about cuts in the educational sector," Davis said in a sit-down interview with FOX 13 News at the school district’s headquarters. 

By contract, teachers must be notified of their employment status by this Friday, April 9. Davis said teachers may get a notice not to return to their current school, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be without a job. 

Hillsborough County breaks ground on new school 1 day after announcing job cuts

The 410,000-square-foot facility is being built with money from a county tax referendum and is expected to open in the summer of 2022.

RELATED: State education program helps parents teach their children, prepare them for kindergarten

"Even though an individual may not be able to return back to his or her school, we may have a position based on their credentials and the need to place them in another school to continue to serve children," Davis said.

The superintendent came to Hillsborough Schools just 13 months ago -- in time for the pandemic and the huge budget shortfall. Davis said major cuts have already taken place at district headquarters.

"Teachers have been heroic during this pandemic as they were before this pandemic," he said. "We are 15 less administrators than we had a year ago. That’s saving around a million dollars."

Hillsborough County schools could be out of money by end of June, superintendent says

The Hillsborough County school district could be out of general fund money by the end of June, Superintendent Addison Davis told board members during an eye-opening budget workshop.

Davis came into a school district once endowed with millions of dollars by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But now with grants gone and enrollments down, Hillsborough faces a $140-million shortfall.

RELATED: Bill in Florida Legislature would require moment of silence in schools every morning

"We are over-staffed in particular areas in our schools, so we’ve got to make hard decisions," Davis said. 

The superintendent said he is not currently promoting a tax increase for schools in Hillsborough County. However, he is urging parents to press state legislators for more education spending in Tallahassee.

Hillsborough school district needs to build 5 new schools by 2025, superintendent says

The Hillsborough County School District is facing a possible construction crisis in the southern part of the county, Superintendent Addison Davis told county commissioners.