FISD hosts public hearing for input on District of Innovation plans

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A public hearing was held by Friendswood ISD at their Oct. 10 meeting of the School Board for input regarding the district’s opportunity to be a state designated District of Innovation (DOI). FISD is joining a growing list of Texas public school districts that have sought this designation.

The hearing was required following the Board’s approval in September 2016 to explore the possibility of acquiring the designation under HB 1842.

The District of Innovation concept was passed into law by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842. The law allows traditional independent school districts to access many of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. To access these flexibilities, a school district must adopt an innovation plan.

At the hearing, FISD Superintendent Trish Hanks presented the district’s timeline, exemptions allowable and ideas that have generated at this time in the process.

The timeline follows the state process for achieving the designation.

In September, the Board approved a resolution to explore the possibility and at the October meeting, a public hearing was held, and a board appointed committee was named to develop an innovative plan. The committee will begin the planning process this month.

“The planning committee will meet with district staff and identify challenges and opportunities. They will work to create an academic environment that effectively meets the needs of every child in FISD,” Hanks said.

In January 2017, the plan will be given to the Board to review and will be publicly posted for 30 days. After this, the Board will vote to authorize the Board President to notify the Texas Education Association (TEA) Commissioner of the Board’s intention to vote on adoption of the proposed innovation plan.

In February, the DOI committee will hold a public meeting to vote on FISD’s innovation plan. A majority of two-thirds vote will needed to pass. At the Feb. 13, 2017 board meeting, the board will vote on the final plan, again needing two-thirds vote to adopt the plan.

The adopted plan will then be sent to the TEA Commissioner.

The committee that was approved by the Board at the October meeting includes the following members: Aaron Chester, Albert Cipolla, Andrea Niles, Barsa Harclerode, Donna Stokes, Emily Ford, Kristin Hamon, Laney Montemayor, Mary Beth Hillenburg, Tawni Slaughter, Tammy Lewis, Kristi Carpenter, Kristin Enochs, Lauren Durso, Jenny Wiest, Kristen Westerfield, Nicholle Barcelo Sutton, Marianne Harner, Shawna Lewis, Mary Guynes, Danyelle Moreno, Daron Scott, Karen Hillier, Lauren Malone, Kristin James, and Nicole Ferro.

Story by Karolyn Gephart

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