Katy ISD exploring District of Innovation

In a 5-1 decision, the Katy ISD board of trustees voted to approve a resolution initiating the process of designating KISD as a District of Innovation at its Sept. 26 meeting. George Scott was the only trustee to vote against the resolution.


The board hosted a subsequent public hearing Oct. 18 to receive community input.


At the hearing, KISD Superintendent Lance Hindt identified a flexible school calendar, eliminating the position of campus behavior coordinator and removing the certification requirement for instructors as the district’s three proposed exemptions from state law should KISD become a DOI.


Hindt said he believes the three exemptions would be the most beneficial to KISD.


Furthermore, Hindt said he is not interested in some other exemptions allowed under a DOI designation, namely increasing class sizes and altering teachers’ contracts and planning periods.


“I am married to a teacher,” Hindt said. “I understand the importance of keeping a classroom manageable.”


Elements of becoming a DOI


Local control: Districts decide which flexibilities best suit their local needs. Flexibilities include:


Customization: Districts can create an innovation plan for a level of school, grade level or a single campus.


Autonomy: The district must submit a District of Innovation plan to the commissioner of education, but approval is not required.


Flexibility: Districts will have the flexibility to implement practices similar to charter schools. Examples include exemptions from mandates, such as mandatory school start dates, the 90 percent attendance rule, class-size ratios, site-based decision-making processes, certain student discipline provisions, use of planning and preparation periods, and teacher appraisal requirements.