Frequently Asked Questions

What is a District Innovation?

 The District of Innovation concept was passed into law by the 84th Legislature through House Bill 1842, which created Texas Education Code chapter 12A.

The law allows traditional independent school districts to access most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools by becoming designated as a District of Innovation.

In order to be eligible, a school district must have an accountability rating of met standard.

How do you become a District of Innovation?

The process is initiated by adoption of a Board resolution or a signed petition from a majority of the District Improvement Team.

The Board must promptly conduct a public hearing to consider developing an innovation plan.

At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Board can decline to pursue the designation or appoint a committee to develop a Local Innovation Plan.

What are the benefits in becoming a District of Innovation?

 Primarily local control, flexibility and autonomy from some laws that prevent a district from meeting the needs of its community.

Among the allowable exemptions are from laws related to: 

  • Site-based decision making processes; 
  • First and last day of school; 
  • Minimum minutes of instruction; 
  • Designation of Campus Behavior Coordinators; 
  • Certain purchasing and contract requirements; 
  • Educator certification; 
  • Teacher contracts, use of planning and preparation periods, duty free lunch and appraisal system;
  • 90 percent attendance rule (compulsory attendance still applies)

Is there a Funding Impact?

Not a direct one. School district funding will remain the same for Northwest ISD when it becomes a DOI. Depending on the innovation plan, the District may have some flexibility in the use of compensatory education funds. As a DOI, Northwest ISD has the ability to pursue flexibility choices, especially with respect to the school calendar and attendance, which could impact funding calculations positively.

How Long Does an Innovation Plan Stay in Effect?

The plan may have a term not to exceed five years.

Districts may choose to review the plan more frequently on an annual or biannual basis. A district may only have one innovation plan in place at a time, especially if the plan is tied to specific district goals or strategic plans.

Please note that the designation of the District as a District of Innovation may require changes to LOCAL policies and adjustments to the District’s LEGAL policies.

What happen after the plan has been approved?

 The Innovation Plan will be reviewed each year by the committee who drafted it to ensure it is continuing to meet the needs of the District. Any changes would need to be approved by the District Improvement Team and Board of Trustees.