The largest school district in the Rio Grande Valley may be going through changes in order to compete with charter schools, leaving some teachers worried and others in strong support.
In 2015, Texas lawmakers passed a bill that allows Public Schools to become Districts of Innovation, which would let the Brownsville Independent School District be exempt from certain rules, including educator certification, teacher contracts, and calendars.
“We tell the state that we’re going to go ahead and make some changes which would be for the benefit of the school system, the benefit of our children,” said Philip Cowen, a Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustee.
“We’re going to start on [August] 14th right now we’re starting on the 28th, that is really the change we have. We’re not going to be changing anything else,” Cowen said.
“Because we’re losing students just for that two-week period,” he said.
However former board member, Katy Presas-Garcia, was against it when it was initially proposed and is against it now.
“I felt that the district was not prepared to take the challenge of the DOI,” Presas-Garcia said.
Brownsville Educators Stand Together, a union of professionals, is against the innovation, saying it opens the door for four years for administration to come back and potentially strip teachers and parents of their rights on social media.
“You mean to tell me that they’re going to implement this and it’s going to be a DOI just to change the days? There’s more to it,” Presas-Garcia said.
Tuesday the district will either vote to move forward, or keep the start date where it is.
On May 2, 2017, the Board of Trustees of the Brownsville ISD passed a resolution to initiate the process for the Designation as a District of Innovation.
On August 14, and September 18, the BISD District Level District of Innovation Planning Committee met had an overview, discussion, and input regarding becoming a District of Innovation.
For more information on District of Innovations visit https://tea.texas.gov/Texas_Schools/District_Initiatives/Districts_of_Innovation/