Districts of Innovation
The District of Innovation concept was passed into law by the 84th Legislature (2015) through House Bill 1842, which was codified in Texas Education Code, Chapter 12A. The designation allows school districts to access many of the same options that are currently available to charter schools. In order to seek the designation, a school district must have an accountability rating of "Met Standard."
Despite its name, this designation does not allow a district to be overly innovative but can make changes in areas related to curriculum, instruction, graduation requirements, governance, school calendar, budgeting, and other areas. More specific areas where districts can gain flexibility are: school start date, last day of school, minimum minutes of instruction, teacher certification and contracts, teacher appraisal system, and site based decision-making procedures and processes. For more information about Districts of Innovation, see information from the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Association of School Boards.
Spring Creek ISD took the first step in exploring this opportunity when the SCISD Board of Trustees approved a resolution on February 14, 2017 initiating the process. The Board then held a public hearing to consider whether the district should develop an innovation plan, at which time the Board decided to move forward in the process. A Local Innovation Committee was appointed to develop the SCISD Innovation Plan. The plan has been posted to our website where it must remain for at least 30 days before the SCISD Board of Trustees can approve it.
Requirements that districts cannot be exempted from are: elected boards of trustees, PEIMS reporting, criminal history checks, bilingual education, special education, academic accountability including student assessments, financial accountability, and purchasing regulations, and various other requirements.
SCISD Proposed Exemptions
The following exemptions will be proposed to the SCISD Board of Trustees on May 9, 2017 for their approval. If approved, this Innovation Plan will commence on June 1, 2017:
- District -Level and Site-Based Decision-Making
- Teacher Certifications
- Probationary Contracts
- Teacher Appraisals
- Teacher Contracts
- Inter-District Student Transfers
- First Day of School/Last Day of School
- Minimum Minutes of Instruction
- Local School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)
- Free Kindergarten
- Depository Contract