WFISD's District of Innovation plan headed to board for vote

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Friday, February 17th, 2017 - The next step that could move the Wichita Falls I.S.D. another step closer to becoming a district of innovation is on the agenda for next week.
Newschannel 6 told you Thursday night community members will have a chance to voice their concerns during public comments at Monday's school board meeting.
We've now confirmed that's when the board members could make their final vote on becoming a district of innovation.
That plan must receive two-thirds of the votes from board members to pass and would then have to be  approved by the Texas Education Agency.

Thursday, February 16th, 2017 - The Wichita Falls Independent School District is officially one step closer to becoming a District of Innovation following a public meeting Thursday night.

Becoming a District of Innovation will allow WFISD to waive or be more flexible with some state laws.

The District Advisory Committee unanimously gave the District of Innovation Committee's plan the green light, but the plan is not finalized yet.

Now, school board members must pass the plan, which district officials said could happen at next Monday's school board meeting.

If the District of Innovation plan receives two-thirds of the votes from board members, it will then go to the Texas Education Agency Commissioner to seal the deal.

"It's a lengthy process, but we feel like we've had a lot of input and a lot of good discussion that's come from this process," said Ashley Thomas, WFISD Public Information Officer. "So we'll just see what happens after it goes forward to our board."

Christy Nash, the Chair for the District Advisory Committee and principal at Wichita Falls High School, said becoming a District of Innovation will benefit teachers and students.

"The District Advisory Committee looked at those advantages for teachers and students and felt like there were multiple advantages there," said Nash. "The committee felt like it was a good plan that it would allow for some increased flexibility and some real opportunities for the district to grow and do some innovative things."

Joining over 70 Texas school districts and becoming a District of Innovation will give the WFISD independence when it comes to some state requirements, like being able to make changes to the school start date, teacher certification guidelines and being flexible around the state rule that requires students to be in class 90 percent of the year, to name a few.

District officials said they want parents who have concerns to know they have the students best interest at heart and their doors are always open to answer any questions.

"We always obviously want to consider our parents' concerns," said Nash.

Nash said this change will allow the district and teachers to have more flexibility to meet the needs of all students.

Thomas said, "We appreciate any feedback we get from our community, and we do want to make sure that everybody knows what that plan consists of."

The community will have a chance to voice their concerns during public comments at Monday's school board meeting.

The agenda for that meeting is expected to be released Friday.

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