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.
"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."
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.
"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.