Some Tampa Bay school districts will miss out on key state funding next year

WUSF | By Bailey LeFever | April 12, 2022

Hillsborough County School officials are working to find alternate ways to get funding.

Twelve school districts across Florida will miss out on key state funding for next school year because they chose to institute COVID-19 mask mandates against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ wishes.

Now, the districts — including Hillsborough and Sarasota — have to plan the next year without millions of dollars in what are called “recognition funds.”

The 55 districts that did not defy DeSantis’ order will, however, be awarded these funds.

Hillsborough County Public Schools will lose their share of money usually given to high performing schools, which has been as much as $9 million in years past, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Reports show that other school districts like Miami-Dade could stand to lose millions of dollars next year too.

The remaining nine districts are Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Duval, Indian River, Leon, Orange, Palm Beach, and Volusia counties.

At last week’s meeting, Hillsborough County School Board chairperson Nadia Combs said she’s committed to trying to find funding from other sources.

“We will get that money from the federal government,” she said. “I will not let a dollar be lost in our schools. That is my commitment to the school board, and that is the sole reason that I am here.”

Superintendent Addison Davis also added that while he has spoken to federal officials about the situation, they have not committed to providing money.

Florida schools did not receive any recognition funds last year, News Service of Florida previously reported.

House Appropriations Chairman Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, said that as such, the redirection of these recognition awards should not be considered a drop in funding to the 12 districts.

“This is not a cut to these school districts because they did not get these dollars last year. I would consider it a new program for this year,” Trumbull said. “We’re telling school districts that they didn’t listen … to the parents.”

News Service of Florida contributed to this report. 

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