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School Board Sets May 17 Public Hearing Regarding Designation as a 'District of Innovation'

May 13, 2016

At their May 3, 2016, meeting, the Plano ISD Board of Trustees adopted a resolution PDF to begin the process of declaring their eligibility to become a district of innovation. In compliance with eligibility guidelines, the board is hosting a public hearing to consider whether the district should develop an innovation plan.

The public hearing will be held during the May 17 school board meeting (agenda). The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Plano ISD Administration Building, 2700 West 15th Street in Plano. At the conclusion of the hearing or soon thereafter, the board may (1) decline to pursue the designation as a District of Innovation; or (2) appoint a committee to develop a plan.

The District of Innovation concept was passed into law by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842, which created Texas Education Code chapter 12A. The law allows traditional independent school districts to access most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. To access these flexibilities, a school district must adopt an innovation plan, as set forth in Chapter 12A.

A local school district may want to pursue specific innovations in curriculum, instruction, governance, parent or community involvement, school calendar, budgeting or other ideas. An innovation plan also allows a school district to gain exemption from many Texas Education Code requirements.

A District of Innovation may adopt a plan that includes exemptions from most of the same state laws that are not applicable to open enrollment school districts. These laws could include:

  • Site-based decision making processes (to the extent required by state law)
  • Uniform school start date
  • Minimum minutes of instruction
  • Class size ratio
  • The 90 percent attendance rule (but compulsory attendance still applies)
  • Student discipline provisions (with some key exceptions, like the requirement to have a code of conduct and restrictions on restraint and seclusion)
  • Teacher certification (except as required by federal law)
  • Teacher contracts
  • Teacher benefits, including state minimum salary schedule, duty-free lunch, and planning periods
  • Teacher appraisal system

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