More local schools opting to drop State requirements for local regulations
More Southeast Texas school districts are opting out of state requirements in favor of local regulations, following Hardin-Jefferson ISD’s lead in pursuing the state’s District of Innovation designation.
More than 200 Texas districts have declared themselves “innovation districts,” including Port Neches-Groves, Newton and Sabine Pass, which have developed and approved local innovation plans this year, and at least six more local districts have started the process. The designation, created by the state Legislature in 2015, allows districts to opt out of various state requirements, including obligations to seek waivers for and inform parents about larger class sizes and teacher certifications.
Those are among the exemptions sought by Buna, Bridge City, West Orange-Cove and Warren ISDs, which have draft plans posted on their websites that have not yet been voted on for final approval. Public hearings have been held to begin considering the process in Woodville and Nederland ISDs.
To be eligible, districts must have a state accountability rating of “met standard.” They are not allowed to opt out of regulations involving testing, school finance, and others restrictions set by the state.
According to an analysis by Community Impact Newspapers in January, the most popular exemptions statewide so far are rules mandating that schools cannot start before the fourth Monday in August, and the rules governing teacher certification.
H-J ISD, PN-G ISD and Newton ISD’s plans all opt out of these rules, as well as all of the local draft plans available.
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