State rep. proposes bill to hold DOIs accountable for finances, academics

In his second bill tackling districts of innovation, or DOIs, in a Tuesday House Public Education Committee meeting, Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, introduced legislation to create standards of accountability for DOIs.

The Fort Worth Republican said that since 2015, when DOIs were first formed by the 84th Texas Legislature, there have not been enough measures in place to hold DOIs accountable.

"Right now, they are really just districts with exemptions," Krause said. "We don't know if it is benefiting our educational environment at all."

Krause's bill would require the commissioner of education to draft financial and academic standards that would qualify a district to become a DOI. Krause said currently, roughly 95 percent of districts can become a DOI without knowing if any exemptions taken in the process will create a more innovative education.

Committee Chairman Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, expressed concern that this would remove some of the local control that the initial legislation creating DOIs gave to school districts.

Officials with the Texas Education Agency said the bill would cost $232,000 annually for an additional two full-time employees to oversee the accountability process.

Mark Wiggins of the Association of Texas Professional Educators testified in favor of the bill saying districts should be held to a high standard when taking exemptions.

The bill would also have some teeth to enforce the standards even after a DOI plan is adopted. Should a district not meet the financial or academic standards for two consecutive years, the district would cease to be a DOI.

The bill was left pending in committee.


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