What is a District of Innovation?
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.
Potential Benefits of Becoming a District of Innovation
- Local control: Districts decide which flexibilities best suit their local needs.
- Customization: Districts can create an innovation plan for a level of school (e.g., only high schools), grade level, or a single campus.
- Autonomy: Districts must submit a district of innovation plan to the commissioner of education, but approval is not required.
- Flexibility: Districts will have the flexibility to implement practices similar to charter schools, including exemptions from mandates such as:
- Uniform school start date
- 90% attendance rule
- Class-size ratios
- Minimum minutes of instruction
- Site-based decision-making processes
- Certain student discipline provisions
- Teacher certifications
What is the Process to Become a District of Innovation?
- A resolution from the Board of Trustees or by signed petition from a majority of the DPDMC is needed to initiate the process.
- A public hearing will be held within 30 days to consider whether the district should develop a Local Innovation Plan.
- After the public hearing, the Board of Trustees will formally decide to pursue becoming a District of Innovation by appointing a District of Innovation (DOI) Committee to develop the Local Innovation Plan or decline to continue the process.
- DOI Committee meetings are held to involve stakeholders in developing the plan.
- The Local Innovation Plan will be presented to the District Planning and Decision Making Committee (DPDMC) and a public meeting will be held.
- The plan will be posted online for 30 days.
- The Board of Trustees notifies the Commissioner of their intention to vote on the proposed plan.
- The Board of Trustees approves the Final Local Innovation Plan.
- The Board of Trustees notifies the Commissioner of the list of approved exemptions.
What are the DOI Committee Responsibilities?
The membership of the committee is not specified in statute, but as a practical matter, the members of the committee must:
- be able to write a comprehensive plan with specific elements including Identification of the Texas Education Code provisions from which the District of Innovation should be exempted,
- clearly articulate the purpose of the plan, and
- persuade the school community of the value of the plan.
- Once a local Innovation Plan is approved, the term of designation as a District of Innovation may not exceed five (5) years.
- The Innovation plan may be amended, rescinded, or renewed if approved by vote of Board of Trustees and DOI Committee with 2/3 voting requirement.
- Currently 600+ school districts have become Districts of Innovation
- Texas Education Agency DOI Information
- TASB DOI Information
Carlos M. Gonzalez, Jr., Superintendent
Connie Gray, Chief Instructional Officer
956-765-6546, Ext. 2013
Olinda Flores, Chief Personnel Officer
956-765-6546, Ext. 2417