Hillsborough County Public Schools

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) is a school district that runs the public school system of Hillsborough County in west central Florida and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. It is frequently referred to as the School District of Hillsborough County (SDHC).

Hillsborough County Public Schools
Hillsborough County

United States
District information
MottoPreparing Students For Life
GradesPre K-12
SuperintendentJeff Eakins
Budget$2.9 billion
Students and staff
Other information
Teachers' UnionsHillsborough Classroom Teachers Association[2]
WebsiteOfficial website

The district serves all of Hillsborough County. It is the third largest school district in Florida and the 8th largest in the United States.[3] It is governed by the School Board of Hillsborough County, which consists of seven elected members and one superintendent, who is hired by the board. MaryEllen Elia served as Superintendent from July 2005 until March 2015,[4][5] when she was fired by the school board and replaced by her Deputy Superintendent Jeff Eakins.[6]

List of Schools


In the 2018–2019 academic year, the ethnic makeup of Hillsborough county public schools was as follows:[7]

  • 35.99% Hispanic or Latino
  • 32.79% White
  • 20.90% Black
  • 5.79% Multi-racial
  • 4.34% Asian
  • 0.19% Native American

School Board

The Hillsborough County School Board[8] consists of seven elected officials, five elected by voters in their district and two elected on a countywide basis. As of November 22, 2016 the board consists of:

  • District 1: Steve P. Cona III
  • District 2: Dr. Stacy Hahn
  • District 3: Cindy Stuart
  • District 4: Melissa Snively (Vice Chair)
  • District 5: Tamara P. Shamburger (Chair)
  • County-Wide District 6: Karen Perez
  • County-Wide District 7: Lynn L. Gray


Hillsborough County Schools provides athletic opportunities for high school boys in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, wrestling, and lacrosse. For high school girls, the sports are basketball, cheer, cross country, flag football, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, lacrosse, and volleyball.

Strawberry Schools

Prior to 1956, many of the schools in the county in the eastern section near Plant City maintained an unusual schedule based on the strawberry growing city. These schools were closed from January through March and were referred to as Strawberry Schools.[9] Among these schools were the Glover School,[10] Cork,[11] Keysville, Pinecrest, and Turkey Creek. Some schools in this area of the county retain one vestige of the old schedule; rather than having a spring holiday for the Florida State Fair, they celebrate a holiday for the Florida Strawberry Festival.[12]


Like most public school systems in the southern United States, Hillsborough County once maintained a strictly racially segregated school system. Several schools had a population of 100 percent minority students, including Don Thompson Vocational High School in Tampa, (now known as Blake High School) and the Glover School in Bealsville, Florida near Plant City, while most public schools were for white students only. Following the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954, a federal district court found in 1962 that Hillsborough County was operating an "illegally segregated public school system".[13] The district spent much of the next 9 years employing various strategies designed to delay integration of the schools.[14] Hillsborough County began integrating select schools during the 1965-1966 school year[15], but in 1971, a federal judge ruled that the pace was too slow and ordered the school district to initiate a comprehensive desegregation program.[13] The school system responded with a busing program designed to result in the same percentage of students by race in each school. In 1991, the district received court approval for a cluster plan to lessen disruption to students. As part of this plan, the district created magnet schools to attract white students to historically black schools, and single-grade schools were replaced with groupings of ages, such as middle schools. In 1994, the NAACP sued the district, alleging that the schools were being resegregated, with some schools being as much as 90% black.[13] A 1998 court ruling agreed that Hillsborough County's school's were not yet "desegregated to the maximum extent practicable" and continued federal monitoring of the process.[16] For the 2001-2002 school year, the district replaced its busing program with a new school choice in an attempt to reduce re-segregation. In 2001, a federal court of appeals declared that the district's schools were "unitary", meaning that they were sufficiently integrated and federal monitoring was no longer required.[13]


The school district utilizes Hillsborough County Public Schools Security Services and the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office at many schools around the county. Known as School Resource Officers, they provide armed security along with other services where they are assigned.[17] Other jurisdictions assist with service calls in a backup capacity. These agencies include Plant City Police Department, Temple Terrace Police Department, and Tampa Police Department. During some local school sponsored sporting events the district will utilize the Florida Highway Patrol, USF Police Department, and Tampa Airport Police Department in conjunction with the other agencies to provide security. Since the school sponsored events are generally served by off-duty law enforcement officers, other local agencies may also be present.

Gates Foundation grant

In 2009, The Hillsborough County School District was awarded a one hundred million dollar grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve education through improved mentoring and evaluation of teachers.[18] After a six year effort, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant, funding mentoring and "Empowering Effective Teachers" plan ended.[19]


  1. "Hillsborough County Public Schools".
  2. "Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association".
  3. "Characteristics of the 100 Largest Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts in the United States: 2003–04". nces.ed.gov. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  4. "Superintendent's Office - Hillsborough County Public Schools". www.sdhc.k12.fl.us. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  5. "School board votes to terminate Elia's contract". TBO.com. 2015-01-20. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  6. "Hillsborough School Board approves Jeff Eakins as new superintendent". 2015-03-03. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  7. https://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/assets/pdf/SE0016B.pdf
  8. Hillsborough County School Board
  9. http://www.hillsborough.communityatlas.usf.edu/upload/documents/HILLSBOROUGH_COUNTY_Historic_Resources_Excerpts_Turkey%20Creek.pdf
  10. "THE HISTORY OF GLOVER SCHOOL CAMPUS". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  11. Nicholson, Dave (31 March 2013). "Cork 'Strawberry school' alumni to reunite". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  12. Cribb, Robert (6 April 2008). "The Strawberry Schools". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  13. Martin, John (20 March 2001). "Chronology". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  14. Days III, Drew S (1 January 1992). "The Other Desegregation Story: Eradicating the Dual School System in Hillsborough County, Florida". Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  15. Dolan, Mary (16 January 1989). "Two who ended segregation join King tribute". St. Petersburg Times.
  16. "Tampa Schools Fail to End Desegregation Order". New York Times. AP. 29 Oct 1998. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  17. http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/departments/9/security/about/
  18. Hillsborough school board accepts $100M Gates grant | Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune | TBO.com
  19. https://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/eakins-panel-will-help-hillsborough-schools-move-on-from-the-gates-grant/2251811
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