Committee Proposes Exemptions from Texas Education Code

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A group of Frisco ISD parents and staff members are proposing a plan that would exempt Frisco ISD from state requirements regarding the school start date, designation of campus behavior coordinator and minutes of instruction at the Pre-K level.

Members of the Local Innovation Committee were appointed by trustees and District leaders to evaluate if and how FISD could benefit from becoming a District of Innovation. The group met twice in late November to discuss and draft the proposed plan, which must now be approved by the District Improvement Team (DIT) and School Board.

The plan is currently available here on the District website for review and input. It references the areas of the FISD Strategic Plan that are impacted, along with the Texas Education Code from which the exemption is sought and the corresponding legal policy. The rationale is addressed, as is the local guideline that would be in place.

With regard to the start of school, statute dictates that school cannot begin prior to the fourth Monday in August. The proposed innovation guideline states that school would not start before the second Monday, with preference given to the third Monday.

With regard to the campus behavior coordinator designation, the law states that this duty is to be assigned to one administrator. This plan states that these duties can be delegated by the principal to more than one campus administrator, as was done before the law was enacted, but that all other provisions of this chapter of the Education Code will be in place, such as the timely notification to parents.

With regard to minutes of instruction, this exemption applies only to Frisco ISD’s half-day, morning and afternoon Pre-Kindergarten program at the Early Childhood School. Pre-K students attend school for three hours, which, under the current statute, does not meet the required minimum minutes of instruction. The structure of this program is repeated across the state and the District is hopeful that this unintended consequence will be addressed in the upcoming legislative session so that districts will not have to face any negative funding implications.

No waiver process is in place for any of the three addressed areas of innovation.

The plan includes exhibits that visually outline the process for any future amendments to the plan and provides for an annual review.

“The entire 15-member committee is in support of the plan and is bringing this forward for public review and input prior to voting by the District Improvement Team and the Board. They did a very thorough job and I commend them for their work,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeremy Lyon.

He added that leaders will work to see that any notations or modifications to policy can be discussed in conjunction with this process.

The District will host a public hearing on the plan on Thursday, January 5 at 6 p.m. at the FISD Administration Building, 5515 Ohio Drive.

The School Board can vote at its January 9th meeting to notify the Commissioner of Education of its intent to vote on the plan at its February 13th meeting. The DIT will meet publicly on February 9 to take a vote on the plan.

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