Hillsborough County Schools celebrated a huge honor on Wednesday, receiving the “Best Communities for Music Education” award.  

What You Need To Know

  • Hillsborough County School District received award for music education

  • Superintendent Addison Davis says that with more funding, other schools can have music programs

  • The increased money could also go towards teacher salaries and providing other resources

The district is one of only five to receive the award, and Superintendent Addison Davis says this is a prime example of why the proposed millage is so important for voters to pass.

Ms. Chick’s passion for music is contagious, and today, the “Roosevelt Rock Band” jammed out to some classic Guns N’ Roses.  “It’s just gen-ed 4th graders who come to music twice a week for 30 minutes, and these kids get a chance to play recorders, and drums, melody bells, we have a very full program here at Roosevelt,” Ernesta Chicklowski, who goes by Ms. Chick, and is music teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School, told Spectrum News. 

While they have a very full music program at Roosevelt Elementary, that’s not the case for all Hillsborough County Schools.  Roosevelt is in an affluent, South Tampa neighborhood, and families provide a lot of financial support. 

“I know this inequity and lack of access makes it really hard for teachers and students to explore all of music education, and even with quality instructors, if we don’t have the materials and resources for our students to be successful it is very, very challenging,” said Ms. Chick.

Because of those challenges, Superintendent Davis says the millage tax increase is crucial. He says the funds would be used to pay teachers, like Ms. Chick, more money, and provide programs like this at all schools.  “Fifteen thousand students in Hillsborough County aren’t served in this capacity, and it’s simply because of a lack of funding, so being able to find a funding source, and make sure our students have these types of opportunities, and also in front of a highly qualified and skilled teacher,” said Davis. 

Ms. Chick says she was fortunate enough to have a highly skilled band teacher, “Middle school band is where I found my groove, and that teacher now every time I see him, I’m excited because he lit that fire in me.”

And she feels every child deserves to have that fire lit in them, too, no matter what school they may attend.  

The millage tax increase will be on ballots in August, Superintendent Davis says.

The average home in Hillsborough County is valued at $250,000, and the yearly cost would be about $225.