Proposal would give district flexibility on school start date, hiring hard-to-fill teaching spots

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A proposal under consideration would give Dallas ISD more control regarding when the school year starts, as well as allow the district more flexibility in hiring hard-to-fill select teaching positions.

The Texas Legislature passed a bill that allows Texas school districts to pursue a District of Innovation (DOI) designation. The designation gives districts such as Dallas ISD most of the flexibilities available to the state’s open-enrollment charter schools. More than 100 independent school districts in Texas have approved the DOI designation.

Trustees earlier this year appointed representatives to a DOI Committee, which then created a proposed plan. DOI Committee members Mita Havlick and Brookhaven College President Thom Chesney presented the plan to trustees at the May 11 board briefing.

The DOI designation would let the district start classes before the fourth Monday in August, which is currently required by law. An earlier school year start date would help Dallas ISD compete with charter schools that start two weeks prior to the district, and more closely align the district with its community college partners that start earlier in the month.

In addition, the DOI designation would provide the District flexibility in hiring teachers in the areas of career and technical education and dual-credit coursework only in grades 9–12.

Trustees are expected to vote on whether to become a DOI at the May 25 board meeting. If approved, the designation would go into effect for the 2018–2019 school year.

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