During a special-called board meeting October 25th, the Brazosport ISD Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution to become a District of Innovation. Superintendent Danny Massey presented a report on the concept of this distinction the previous week at the regularly scheduled board meeting.
The District of Innovation designation was passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842 giving traditional independent school districts like BISD some of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open-enrollment charter schools. Massey explained that this would give local authority and autonomy to our community, allowing the flexibility to ask “what if?” and customize those possibilities to meet the needs of BISD students.
“BISD is eligible for the District of Innovation designation because our district is rated the highest rating of Met Standard on student performance,” he said. “Local control could be granted to meet BISD students needs in areas of school calendar, school start date, school day, class size, teacher certification, student attendance, and certain student discipline provisions. We want the flexibility to make our district even better for our students and staff.”
Some of the benefits of becoming a District of Innovation include:
- Local control: Districts decide which flexibilities best suit their local needs.
- Customization: Districts can create an innovation plan for a level of school (i.e. 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.
The process to become a TEA designated District of Innovation includes:
- A board resolution to pursue the District of Innovation distinction
- A public hearing is held to discuss the proposal to become a District of Innovation
- Board vote to pursue the District of Innovation Distinction
- Committee appointed to write the plan to become a District of Innovation
- Post the plan to become a District of Innovation
- Notify the Commissioner of the district’s intent to become a District of Innovation
- Hold another public hearing on the specifics of the plan to become a District of Innovation
- The Board of Trustees adopt the District of Innovation distinction plan
“We know over the years state mandates and prescriptive laws have eroded local control of our school district. This is a realistic process for us to do something about it. We plan to take advantage of this opportunity and investigate the possibilities.” Massey concluded.
The public hearing to discuss the proposal will be held at the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting held on November 15, 2016.