In September, the Lake Travis school board adopted a resolution that allowed district officials to explore the process for becoming a District of Innovation. Passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842, the District of Innovation concept provides school districts much of the flexibility currently available to open-enrollment charter schools in Texas. In general, it gives school districts more local control and increases their ability to decide what best suits their needs and the needs of their students and staff.
Upon approval of the resolution, trustees then appointed central office and campus administrators, teachers and staff from each school, and community members to serve on a Innovation Plan Committee for the purpose of developing an Innovation Plan. The committee met in September, October, and November to draft, review, and prepare a proposed Innovation Plan. The plan will be posted on the District’s website for 30 days. The committee will hold a public meeting on December 13 to consider and vote on the final version of the proposed plan. If the proposed Innovation Plan is approved by a majority of the Innovation Plan Committee, the school board will vote on whether to adopt the final proposed plan during its December 13 regular meeting. If two-thirds of the membership of the board vote to adopt the plan, Lake Travis ISD will be designated as a District of Innovation. Although approval is not required by the Texas Education Agency, the plan must be submitted to the Commissioner of Education.
According to the district’s proposed Innovation Plan, LTISD seeks exemption from the following provisions of the Texas Education Code:
- First Day of Instruction
- Class Size in Grades K-4
- Teacher Appraisal System
- Teacher Certification
- Probationary Teacher Contracts
“I am excited about the possibilities the District of Innovation designation can create for our district,” LTISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Lancaster stated. “I believe the opportunity for flexibility and increased local control will allow us to make decisions that will best serve our students, staff, and community.”