House Bill (HB) 1842, passed during the 84th Legislative Session, permits Texas public school districts to become Districts of Innovation and to obtain exemption from certain provisions of the Texas Education Code.
Potential benefits of becoming a District of Innovation include:
Flexibility: Districts will have the flexibility to implement practices similar to charter schools, including exemptions from certain mandates including the uniform school start date and required minutes of instruction.
Local control: Districts decide which flexibilities best suit their local needs.
Autonomy: Districts must submit a district of innovation plan to the commissioner of education, but approval is not required.
On April 17, 2017, the Hardin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees (“Board”) passed a Resolution to explore the development of a District of Innovation Plan to increase local control over District operations and to support innovation and local initiatives. The adoption of this plan seeks to increase the District’s flexibility in order to improve educational outcomes for the benefit of students and the community. On April 17, 2017, the Board appointed a District of Innovation Committee (“Committee”) comprised of diverse leaders representing a cross-section of the District’s stakeholders including administrators, principals, parents, and community members. The Committee met on April 20, 2017 to discuss and draft the Local Innovation Plan (“Plan”). The District will accept input on the proposed District of Innovation Plan by posting the Plan on the district website for 30 days starting April 21, 2017. The District will conduct a public forum and present the plan to the board.
The HISD Board of Trustees approved Plan at its meeting on May 22, 2017.