Teachers express concern with "district of innovation" title for AISD

Teachers express concern with "district of innovation" title for AISD

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Multiple teachers have contacted Newschannel 10 with concerns, and we have relayed those concerns to officials.

AISD is considering becoming a District of Innovation, as the school board voted for a committee last month.

A Texas law passed in 2015 allows certain acceptably-rated school districts to become Districts of Innovation (DOI) and claim exemptions from many state laws that affect public education. Innovation districts are allowed to operate in a similar manner as a charter school. Association of Texas Professional Educators has compiled this resource page to help educators and parents learn how the law could affect them and how they can share their input with local school boards that are considering adopting innovation plans.

Teachers fear this would eliminate or minimize state employee protections, parental rights and other necessities.

A complete list of concerns has been compiled and can be viewed here.

We spoke with AISD Director of Student Performance Sandy Whitlow who says, there are only two changes the district will pursue.

"Well basically, we are just trying to keep our calendar and our pre-k minutes the same that we've always had. And since the school start date is going to be a lot later this year, then that would move us into maybe a June end date or losing some of the holidays that we normally set, so really  the District of Innovation is just a chance for us to be able to keep our calendars somewhat similar and to keep the pre-k minutes the way that we've always been able to do so."

Whitlow says, there will be no other changes to class size, teacher contracts, or anything of that nature.

When asked if she foresees any other changes coming (if and when) this distinction is given, Whitlow said, "You know, right now I don't foresee any other changes, but I can't predict the future on that."

The plan for this DOI designation has not yet been drafted. Any teachers or faculty who have concerns are welcomed to express those to AISD.

We will continue to follow this story as it progresses.

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