District of Innovation

H.B. 1842 (84th Session of the Texas Legislature) in part amended Chapter 12 of the Texas Education Code (TEC) to create Districts of Innovation. Districts are eligible for designation if certain performance requirements are met and the district follows certain procedures for adoption as outlined in the Statute. The designation provides the district will be exempt from certain sections of the TEC that inhibit the goals of the district as outlined in the locally adopted Innovation Plan.

The term of the designation as a district of innovation may not exceed five years.

View more at
TEA: Districts of Innovation.

Azle ISD Amendment to Current Local Innovation Plan

With regard to each area of innovation, the District declares exemption from the listed statutory provision, as well as any implementing rules or regulations promulgated pursuant to those statutory provisions by any state agency or entity, including but not limited to the Commission of Education, Texas Education Agency, State Board for Educator Certification, and State Board of Education.

Texas Education Code §22.004(i) Inhibits the Goals of the Local Innovation Plan

TEC §22.004(i) Group Health Benefits for School Employees states that a school district may not make group health coverage available to its employees pursuant to TEC §22.004(b) after the date a district implements the program of coverages provided under Chapter 1579 of the Texas Insurance Code. The current process allows no flexibility in the design of group health insurance benefits to fit the needs of all district employees. This provision also prohibits the district from procuring group health insurance benefits that may provide better coverages for its employees at a lower cost. This provision does not give the district the flexibility needed to acquire benefits packages that would potentially be more attractive to prospective employees.

Exemption from Texas Education Code §22.004(i)

TEC §22.004 is not included in any of the prohibited exemptions that can be included in a District’s local innovation plan pursuant to TEC §12A.004 or the list of the Commissioner’s prohibited exemptions in the Texas Administrative Code Title 19, Chapter 102, subchapter JJ, Section 102.1309. Therefore, in order to have the option to offer additional benefits options to employees and to increase local control of the group health benefits plan to allow the District to be responsive to employee and community needs, Azle ISD amends the District of Innovation Plan to exempt the district from the health insurance requirements in TEC §22.004(i).