District of Innovation
On August 15 at 5:30 p.m., the Board of Trustees will host a public hearing to gather public comments on MISD becoming a District of Innovation, a product of House Bill 1842 from the 84th Legislative Session.
What is a District of Innovation?
A District of Innovation (DOI) is a concept passed by the 84th Texas Legislative that gives traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to open enrollment charter schools, including exemption from many requirements mandated in the Texas Education Code. To create a DOI, a school district must adopt an innovation plan for its district.
Why choose a District of Innovation?
- Local control: Districts decide which flexibilities best suit their local needs.
- Customization: Districts can create an innovation plan for a level of school (e.g., only high schools), grade level, or a single campus.
- Autonomy: Districts must submit a district of innovation plan to the commissioner of education, but approval is not required.
- Flexibility: Districts will have the flexibility to implement practices similar to charter schools, including exemptions from mandates such as:
- Uniform school start date
- Class size ratio
- Minimum minutes of instruction
- 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 appraisal system
- Teacher certification (except as required by federal law)
- Teacher contracts
- Teacher benefits
- Site-based decision making processes (to the extent required by state law)
Is there a funding impact?
Depending on the innovation plan, the District may have some flexibility in the use of compensatory education funds. As a DOI, MISD has the ability to pursue flexibility choices, especially with respect to the school calendar and attendance, which could impact funding calculations positively.
What impact could a District of Innovation have on district policy?
Policy changes will correlate with innovation plan changes. As a DOI, revisions to local policies may be required as well as adjustments to legal policies to reflect legal provisions affected by the District’s innovation plan.