What Is a District of Innovation?
A District of Innovation is a concept passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842 giving traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to the state’s open-enrollment charter schools. Any district with an academic performance rating of at least Academically Acceptable is eligible. 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, which ultimately allows the district to gain more local control.
On January 16, 2017, the Florence ISD Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution to initiate the process for consideration of designation as a District of Innovation (DOI). The first DOI Plan developed by a 24-member committee was approved on May 17, 2017, by the FISD Board of Trustees. FISD began the process of renewing the adopted DOI Plan set to expire on May 17, 2022. Strategies within the plan were amended based on changes in statute and identified needs of the district brought up by the committee. The final document was approved by the FISD Board of Trustees on March 21, 2022.