PFLUGERVILLE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT

PfISD explores becoming District of Innovation

 March 9, 2017


Pflugerville ISD is considering pursuing District of Innovation (DOI) status, which provides traditional school districts most of the flexibilities available to Texas' open enrollment charter schools.

Becoming a District of Innovation is a process that involves significant community and staff input before the Board would make an ultimate decision to proceed.

The Board of Trustees took the initial step in that process by approving a resolution to pursue becoming a District of Innovation during its February 16 regular meeting, followed by a March 2 public hearing on DOI, at which it received public comments about DOI and the process.

“The resolution was the required first step in the process regarding District of Innovation,” said acting Superintendent Gary Patterson. “We want to make this a transparent process. So, we are gathering public input, and that will occur throughout the process, should the Board take the next step and vote to form a DOI committee, which would be composed of PfISD staff, parents and community members.”

The DOI program is a product of House Bill 1842 from the 84th Legislative Session. To access the flexibilities that DOI provides, a school district must adopt an innovation plan as set forth in Texas Education Code chapter 12A. The plan allows for public school districts to decide which TEA exemptions they would like to pursue as a DOI. Some allowable exemptions include greater flexibility with curriculum, instruction, parent or community involvement, school calendar, budgeting, or other ideas.

PfISD could consider options for flexibility in recruiting and retaining career and technical education (CTE) and world language teachers in areas where it struggles to find and keep high quality staff. The district could also consider more school day and calendar flexibility to enrich and enhance instruction.

To help the PfISD community better understand what becoming a DOI district entails, a DOI webpage has been created at www.pfisd.net/Innovation. The webpage includes frequently asked questions (FAQs) and an overview of the process/timeline. Also, those with additional questions or comments about DOI can submit them on that same webpage, or email directly to DOI@pfisd.net. Similarly, those interested in serving on a potential DOI committee can also submit their contact information to DOI@pfisd.net.

Patterson emphasized that should a committee be formed, the process allows for several points of decision along the way.

The scope of the plan will be crafted by the DOI committee, reviewed and approved by the District Academic Advisory Council (DAAC), brought before a second public hearing, and ultimately approved or denied by the PfISD Board. The earliest that DOI status could take effect would be for the 2018-19 school year.

If the Board votes to form the committee, a DOI timeline will also be created so that the public is aware of each step along the way.

That vote to establish the committee could occur at the district’s next regular board meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m. in the PfISD Board Room (1401 West Pecan St.).

For more information about PfISD’s District of Innovation status, visit www.pfisd.net/Innovation.

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