What is a District of Innovation?
In 2015, the 84th Texas Legislature with H.B. 1842 amended Chapter 12 of the Texas Education Code to create Districts of Innovations. Districts are eligible for this designation if certain performance requirements are met and the district follows certain procedures for adoption as outlined in the Statue. The designation provides that the district will be exempt from certain sections of the Texas Education Code that inhibit the goals of the district as outlined in the locally adopted Innovation Plan.
Being designated a District of Innovation empowers school districts with some of the same flexibility given to charter schools by allowing the district to be exempt from certain requirements imposed by state law.
The term of the designation as a District of Innovation may not exceed 5 years.
What flexibility is available through the District of Innovation designation?
By taking the opportunity to become a District of Innovation, the District will have greater local control in decision-making in certain areas including:
- Educator Certification
- Teacher Contracts
- First and Last Date of School
- Length of School Day
- Class Size
- Certain Purchasing and Contract Requirements
Districts of Innovation are not exempt from:
- District Governance
- State Assessment System
- State Accountability System
- School Finance
- Federal Requirements
- Other requirements in state law outside of the Education Code
What are the steps to becoming a District of Innovation?
- The process begins with a resolution by the Board of Trustees.
- The Board conducts a public hearing to consider developing an innovation plan
- Within 30 days of the Public hearing the Board must formally decide to pursue or decline the opportunity.
- If approved, the board appoints an Innovation Plan Committee to write a plan.
- The plan is posted on the website for at least 30 days.
- The Board notifies the Commissioner of Education of intent to adopt a plan.
- The district committee holds a public meeting to consider and approve the final version with a majority vote.
- The Board of Trustees adopts with a two-thirds majority vote.
- The District notifies the Commissioner of the adoption.
Texas Education Agency