School board moves forward with District of Innovation status: decision begins scrutiny on four recommendations

Special to the NEWS
Despite opposition from school employees and the Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA), the SBCISD Board of Trustees gave the go ahead to explore District of Innovation (DOI) status for the district.
In a unanimous resolution at a regular meeting last Tuesday, the board decided to explore the proposal pitched by Superintendent, Dr. Nate Carman, who last week recommended four talking points in committee and a public hearing in case the board decides to continue with any of those points.
Board-President Michael Vargas consulted with the school attorney Tony Torres on whether they needed to pull the item out since it was a resolution on the consent agenda, which are items for which no board discussion is anticipated and the superintendent recommends for approval.
Torres advised the board that the item be kept as part of the record.
In a previous curriculum committee meeting, Carman said the board wasn’t approving the plan, but it simply gave the board the option to do it at a later date.
The four talking points include changing the school year schedule with the option to start earlier, extending probationary contracts to new teachers from one to up to three years, allowing the class ratio to not more than 24 in K4 grades, and hiring vocational teachers with professional experience and CTE (career  and technical education) courses rather than a bachelor’s degree.
Dohn S. Larson, director of legal services at Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA), said the reason behind acquiring DOI is to save the district money at the risk of compromising a quality of education. Even though SBCISD hasn’t yet implemented such status, Larson said district officials act like that’s what they are planning to do.
Carman said whatever the committee decides to move forward, they can consider none of the items, all four, or anything in between.
“These aren’t finalized, these are discussion points,” Carman said last week.
Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services Hector Madrigal said the resolution is just part of the beginning of a process to follow before a final decision.
“This is simply a resolution to start discussing the action points,” Madrigal said. “This is simply selecting to begin the talks.”

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