Flour Bluff Files Final Plan For District Of Innovation Designation

Matt Briscoe

Flour Bluff--After months of diligent work, public input and committee meetings the final articles for a widely used school management technique has been unanimously approved by the Flour Bluff ISD Board of Trustees. The vote took place on December 12 at the Flour Bluff ISD Administrative offices and came after much debate, discussion and public scrutiny. But overall, educators and administrators alike feel that the move towards becoming a District of Innovation is a good plan for students, staff and parents of the District.

The finalized plan will allow for important changes to made when it comes to issues such as classroom time for students and professional development days for staff.

According to the plan, the District will now have greater control over when the school year begins and ends. As it stands now, the school year cannot start before the fourth Monday in August, a rule largely due in part to the powerful tourism lobby. As a District of Innovation, the district may now be granted greater flexibility and choose to begin their school year earlier in the month therefore bypassing the cumbersome tourism practice rule.

One other note is classroom sizes and student to teacher ratio in grades kindergarten through fourth grade. Currently, State law dictates that unless complex waivers are filed and approved with the Texas Education Agency, a classroom size may not exceed 22 students to 1 educator. As filed, the District's plan would allow the District to increase class sizes to 23:1 without having file the specified waivers.

While broad and sweeping the exemption tool could have been, the plan as it is filed would largely only impact those certain areas. From the onset, FBISD Superintendent Dr. David Freeman made it clear that it was not ever his intent to bring uncertified teachers into the classroom--an idea that sparked debate among opponents of the plan. Nor did it ever appear to be on the table to allow the District to bypass service contract bidding processes.

To view the complete filing click here to view on Scribd.


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