District of Innovation (DOI) Planning Information
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 West ISD, 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.”
West ISD 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.
- The committee then drafts a local innovation plan that must provide for a district-wide comprehensive educational program.
- 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.
- The final version of the proposed innovation plan must be posted on the district’s website for 30 days.
- The Board must notify the Commissioner of its intention to vote on adoption of the proposed innovation plan.
- The district-level planning committee established under TEC 11.251 must consider the final version of the innovation plan in a public meeting and approve it by a majority vote.
- Upon conclusion of the 30-day posting period and after the affirmative vote of the district-level planning committee, the full Board may adopt the proposed plan by a two-thirds vote.