FISD to initiate plan to be District of Innovation

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The Board of Trustees for Friendswood ISD approved a resolution at their recent September Board meeting for FISD to initiate consideration to be designated as a District of Innovation under House Bill 1842.

Under the legislation, school districts with acceptable academic accountability ratings could be designated as districts of innovation.

FISD can now begin the process of moving forward with being given this distinction.

The District of Innovation concept, passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842, gives traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open-enrollment charter schools.

“For years, Texas school board members and administrators have complained about the ever-increasing number of state mandates and prescriptive laws and bemoaned the continual erosion of local control. Now there is a realistic process for districts to do something about this,” Executive Director of the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) James Crow said.

Innovative districts have the flexibility to implement exemptions from mandates such as school start date, 90 percent attendance rule, class-size ratios, site-based decision making processes, certain student discipline provisions, use of planning periods, and teacher appraisal requirements.

The next step in the process for FISD will be to prepare a local innovation plan.

The plan will be developed in conjunction with the District’s strategic plan. FISD Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing to receive feedback form District stakeholders.

The plan must provide a comprehensive educational program for FISD including innovations in curriculum, instructional methods, parent and community involvement, campus regulations, any modifications to the school year or day, budgeting and sustainable funding, local accountability and any other innovations from the Board.

Laws from which a District of Innovation cannot be exempt include the following statutes: elected boards of trustees, duties and powers of school boards, superintendents and principals, Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS), Special Education, Prekindergarten, Bilingual education, curriculum and graduation requirements, criminal history record checks and educator misconduct reporting, academic accountability, open meetings, public records, financial accountability reporting, public purchasing and conflicts of interest, nepotism, and any other federal and state laws outside the Texas Education Code.

Story by Karolyn Gephart

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