Q: During a board workshop recently several trustees expressed interest in starting school earlier next year. Our proposed 17-18 calendar goes to the board for approval in May. Is there a way to include a start date before the fourth Monday in August?
A: Yes. If a board of trustees approves a resolution to become a District of Innovation (DOI) by a 2/3 vote, a school district can file its DOI status for the sole purpose of beginning school earlier than the fourth Monday in August.
TASB’s Board Policy Resource Manual includes a sample DOI resolution in AF (EXHIBIT). After the board approves the resolution by 2/3 vote, it must hold a public hearing within 30 days to discuss whether the district should develop an innovation plan. Passage of the resolution and conducting the public hearing may occur the same night, so long as the public hearing is held after approval of the resolution.
Subsequent to the public hearing, the board must appoint a committee to develop the innovation plan. In this case, the committee need only meet for the purpose of stating that the district will be exempt from the mandatory start date in TEC section 25.0811. Before final approval by the board, a district must 1) post the plan on the school district website for 30 days, 2) provide the Commissioner notice of intent to approve the plan, and 3) a majority of the District Advisory Committee must consider and approve the plan in a public meeting. The board may then consider the plan in the same public meeting and approve its contents by a 2/3 vote. Assuming the board approves, the district is exempt from the mandatory start date for the next 5 years.