The Texas Legislature during the 84th Legislative Session passed House Bill (HB) 1842, which provides the opportunity for Texas public schools to be designated as Districts of Innovation.
Districts of Innovation may be exempted from a number of state statutes and will allow a local school district to consider pursuing specific innovations in curriculum, instruction, governance, parent or community involvement, school calendar, budgeting, or other local district concepts and ideas. HB 1842 allows for a local public school district to develop a plan which may have greater local control and the ability to gain exemption from many Texas Education Code requirements.
The Districts of Innovation legislation provides for a local public school district to develop a plan which includes exemptions from many of the state laws that are not applicable to open enrollment school districts (charter schools).
Laws that may be exempted include:
Site-based decision making processes (to the extent required by state law)
Uniform school start date
Minimum minutes of instruction
Class size ratio
The 90 percent attendance rule (compulsory attendance still applies)
Student discipline (code of conduct and restrictions on restraint and seclusion still apply)
Teacher certification (federal law still applies)
TEC §21.003 (Certification Required) – the district may be exempt from this provision, however special education, bilingual/ESL, and prekindergarten teachers must continue to be SBEC certified
Teacher benefits, including state minimum salary schedule, duty-free lunch, and planning periods
Teacher appraisal system
Clifton ISD intends to utilize this plan to support the district's mission: to foster and to promote success by encouraging community values and meeting the diverse needs of students.
A local innovation plan must be developed for a school district before the district may be designated as an Innovation District. A local plan must provide for a comprehensive educational program for the district, which may include:
1) Innovative Curriculum
2) Instructional Methods
3) Community Participation
4) Governance of Campuses
5) Parental Involvement
6) Modifications to the school year
7) Provisions regarding the district budget and sustainable program funding
8) Accountability and assessment measures that exceed the requirements of state and federal law; and
9) Any other innovations prescribed by the board of trustees.