House Bill 1842 was passed in the 84th Legislative Session which gives traditional school districts most of the flexibilities available to the state's open enrollment charter schools. Any district with an academic performance rating of at least Academic Acceptable is eligible to become a District of Innovation (DoI).
The Districts of Innovation (DoI) plan allows a local school district to pursue specific innovations in curriculum, instruction, governance, parent or community involvement, school calendar, budgeting, or other areas. The innovation plan also allows a district the opportunity to seek exemptions from many Texas Education Code requirements resulting in more local control. Each innovation plan is expected to be unique to each school district. A district's plan must be posted online for a minimum of 30 days and the District Advisory Committee must approve it before it could go back to the Board for approval.
Some areas where Districts of Innovation can gain flexibility include school start and ending date, minimum minutes of instruction, class size ratio, and teacher certification.
Districts of Innovation cannot be exempted from requirements including Boards of Trustees, PEIMS reporting, criminal history checks, curriculum and graduation requirements, bilingual education, special education, PreK programs, academic accountability including student assessments, financial accountability, open meetings and public records rules, and purchasing regulations.
Bridge City ISD took the first step in exploring this opportunity when the Board approved a resolution initiating this process on September 9, 2016. The board then held a public hearing (October 17, 2016) to consider whether the district should develop an innovation plan. The Board decided to move forward with the process. A committee has been formed.
Additional Information and Resources :