A District of Innovation is a concept created by the 84th Legislature in House Bill 1842 that gives traditional independent school districts possible flexibility. To access these flexibilities, a school district must adopt an innovation plan, as set forth in Texas Education Code chapter 12A.
The idea behind Districts of Innovation is that a local school district may want to pursue specific innovations in curriculum, instruction, governance, parent or community involvement, school calendar, budgeting, or other areas. An innovation plan allows a district to gain exemption from many Texas Education Code requirements, thus gaining more local control. Each innovation plan is expected to be unique to each school district, allowing for local values and goals to be incorporated into the plan. Each district may identify different areas where their plans would take advantage of the flexibility that is available.
Allowable exemptions include, but are not limited to: Educator Appraisal Review, Educator Contracts, First and Last Day of School, Length of School Day, Class Size, and Certain Purchasing and Contract Requirements.
Requirements that Districts of Innovation cannot be exempted from are: elected Boards of Trustees, PEIMS reporting, criminal history checks, curriculum and graduation requirements, bilingual education, special education, PreK programs, academic accountability including student assessments, financial accountability, open meetings, and public records rules, and purchasing regulations.