Austin ISD is officially a District of Innovation

District trustees will take action on two items tonight related to construction and design contracts for 2017 bond projects.

District trustees will take action on two items tonight related to construction and design contracts for 2017 bond projects.

Austin ISD joined more than 100 other Texas school districts tonight when its board of trustees voted unanimously to approve an innovation plan which will exempt it from a handful of state requirements. The plan will be in effect until March 27, 2022.

A district classified as a District of Innovation adopts a plan that exempts it from certain state laws, including site-based decision-making, school start date requirements, minimum minutes of instruction, class size ratio, attendance rules, disciplinary procedures, teacher contracts and other legal requirements.

Trustee Cindy Anderson suggested adding wording to the innovation plan to ensure any future addition or subtractions to the exemptions would require the same amount of engagement from the Innovation District Advisory Committee and the community that was required to form the first set of exemptions, as well as approval by the IDAC. The amendment failed 4-4-1. Trustees Anderson, Julie Cowan, Ann Teich and Amber Elenz voted to pass the amendment; Trustees Kendall Pace, Paul Saldaña, Edmund Gordon and Yasmin Wagner voted the amendment down; and Trustee Jayme Mathias abstained.

At a March 20 board meeting, the trustees heard an update from the IDAC, the group of 36 citizens tasked with formulating the innovation plan, on the four exemptions it planned to seek under AISD's status as a District of Innovation. Referencing feedback gathered from AISD students, teacher and staff, the IDAC formed exemptions which included changes to the school year calendar, allowances for non-certified teachers to teach certain courses, and adjustments to the minimum attendance and minutes of instruction.

 
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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