Vernon ISD in the progress of becoming a District of Innovation

VERNON, TX (KAUZ) - The Vernon Independent School District is in the process of becoming a District of Innovation, which allows districts to be flexible with some state laws.

With other districts like Wichita Falls ISD also attempting to make the change, it may seem like a lot of districts are making the switch.

Lauren Callahan, an Information Specialists with the Texas Education Agency, said that is because the option of becoming a District of Innovation was added to Texas legislation the summer of 2015.

The number of school districts in the state of Texas that are currently a District of Innovation is now more than 200, and soon Vernon ISD could be added to the list.

Many school districts say it allows them to have more local control.

"Every district adopts their own plan, there's a whole process they have to go through, and so every district's plan looks different," said Callahan.

The Vernon District of Innovation Committee has already finalized its plan. Which states they would like to be exempt from having to start school after the 4th Monday of August. Adding they want to have a more balanced calendar when it comes to six-week grading periods and for semesters to end before holiday breaks.

Another proposed change is being more flexible with teacher certification guidelines. Giving the district the option to allow certified teachers to also teach subjects out of their certified field and offer local teaching certificates for vocational courses.

Being a little more lenient with how long school days are is another change the committee added to its plan.

One reason is to allow the district to have more flexibility when scheduling after school events.

When asked where the TEA stands on districts taking up the option, Callahan said the TEA does not lobby for or against bills at the legislature.

"The reason is that we are the government body that will implement whatever's cast."

While the Vernon ISD's District of Innovation Committee gave the green light to move forward with its plan in March. On April 26th there will be a public hearing for community members to speak out.

After that, the plan will be presented to the school board for a final vote.

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