District of Innovation Information
TEXAS DISTRICTS OF INNOVATION (DOI)
HB 1842 (2015) created the law that allows for the designation of Districts of Innovation (DOI). The law can be found in Chapter 12A of the Texas Education Code (TEC). This chapter provides that a traditional school district that is rated acceptable or better may create a district-level innovation plan, potentially including exemptions from the vast majority of the TEC, which constitutes the state’s regulatory framework and statutory safety net for public schools.
Districts of Innovation may be exempted from a number of state statutes and will have:
- greater local control as the decision makers over the educational and instructional model for students;
- increased freedom and flexibility, with accountability, relative to state mandates that govern educational programming; and
- empowerment to innovate and think differently.
HB 1842 specifies that “a local innovation plan must provide for a comprehensive educational program for the district, which may include:
- innovative curriculum, instructional methods, and provisions regarding community participation, campus governance, and parental involvement;
- modifications to the school day or year;
- provisions regarding the district budget and sustainable program funding;
- accountability and assessment measures that exceed the requirements of state and federal law; and
- any other innovations prescribed by the Board of Trustees.”
A district may become a DOI by following these steps as laid out in statute:
- The district’s Board of Trustees adopts a resolution to consider becoming a DOI, or receives a petition signed by a majority of the members of the district-level planning committee established under TEC 11.251.
- The Board holds a public hearing to consider becoming a DOI.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board either:
- Declines to pursue the designation or
- Appoints a committee to develop a local innovation plan in accordance with TEC 12A.003.
- Identify requirements imposed by the TEC that inhibit the goals of the plan from which the district should be exempted; the exemptions sought by the district cannot include statutes that are identified as non-exemptible under TEC 12A.004.
Timeline of Events
During the January 11, 2017, Regular Board Meeting, the West ISD Board of Trustees approved the Resolution to begin the District of Innovation process and work. The Board approved the Resolution 7-0.
During the February 8, 2017, Regular Board Meeting, the West ISD Board of Trustees held the Public Hearing and formed the District of Innovation Advisory Team. On February 21, 2017, David Truitt, Superintendent, notified the Commissioner of Education via email of West ISD's intent to study and possibly create a DOI plan.
The District of Innovation Advisory Team met on the following dates:
- Monday, March 20, 2017, at 6:30 PM at West Middle/High School
- Monday, March 27, 2017, at 6:30 PM at West Middle/High School
- Thursday, April 6, 2017, at 6:30 PM at West Middle/High School
During the April 6, 2017, District of Innovation Advisory Team Meeting, the proposed West ISD DOI Plan was approved by a 20-0 vote by the DOI Advisory Team. Each team member signed off on the plan.
Per TEC §12A.005 (a)(1), the DOI Plan was posted to the West ISD website at www.westisd.net for 30 days. The plan was posted from Friday, April 7, 2017, through Monday, May 8, 2017.
On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, a Public Hearing was held during the Regular Board Meeting to present and answer questions about the DOI Plan. Also on this night, the West ISD Board of Trustees approved the DOI Plan by a vote of 7-0. David Truitt, Superintendent, notified the Commissioner of Education via email of West ISD’s intent to vote on the proposed DOI Plan. This plan will go into effect for the 2017-2018 school year.