The Cy-Fair ISD board voted 7-0 to initiate the process to achieve the designation of District of Innovation from the Texas Education Agency on Oct. 9.

The DOI designation allows districts to have flexibility in school calendars, giving them more control over the administration of school operations. The board last discussed pursuing this designation in 2019 but did not move forward with the process.

Diving in deeper

According to the TEA, 968 districts across the state qualify for the designation. Neighboring districts with this designation include Katy, Tomball, Klein and Spring Branch ISDs, among others in the Houston region, according to the TEA’s website.

Districts of Innovation are exempt from the following regulations:
  • Uniform school start date
  • Class size and 22:1 student/teacher ratio rule
  • 90% attendance rule
  • Teacher benefits, including state minimum salary schedule, duty-free lunch and planning periods
  • Teacher and principal appraisal systems
The DOI designation does not, however, exempt district campuses from the following:
  • Elected board of trustees
  • Curriculum and graduation requirements
  • Bilingual and special education programs
  • Financial accountability and reporting duties
  • Open meetings and public records
Current situation

While board members agreed in meeting remarks that the district should explore the designation using the Districtwide Educational Improvement Council, voting for the resolution did not necessarily mean they would ultimately vote for the designation.

The DEIC includes teachers, parents, community members and business leaders, and is charged with the responsibility of approving plans, such as the DOI plan, before it would come before the board for approval.

What’s next

District officials presented the timeline for the process to explore the designations to the board Oct. 5.

  • The DEIC will meet to formulate a plan and post the plan for public viewing for 30 days.
  • The committee will notify the TEA commissioner of the proposed plan.
  • The DEIC will host a public meeting to discuss the plan.
  • The committee will then vote on the plan.
  • If approved, the DEIC will present their plan to the board.
  • If adopted by the board, the district must notify the TEA commissioner.
  • The plan would then be posted online and shared with the TEA.
  • The school calendar committee meeting will be held.
  • The board will vote on the calendar resolution.