Friday, March 7, 2008
INNOVATIVE SCHOOLS ACT CLEARS SENATE APPROPRIATIONS
DENVER—Today the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 130. Sponsored by Senate President Peter Groff (D-Denver) and Senator Nancy Spence (R-Centennial), the bill would encourage schools and school districts to innovate to improve student performance by creating Zones of Innovative Performance (ZIPs) free of certain district and state regulations.
If schools’ applications are approved by their local board of education, these schools could be granted the power to control budgets, hiring, curriculum, length of the school day and teacher compensation, for example. Upon local board approval, these schools would have the option of submitting the innovation plan to the State Board of Education for designation as an innovative school or zone of innovation.
The bill would serve as a tool to allow schools to assess their particular school needs to reform and remove barriers by implementing strategies based on individual school assessments.
“A status quo approach is no longer working and in fact is hindering our ability to graduate our students with the skills they need to succeed in a global economy,” said Groff.
“These schools and districts of innovation would have the potential to instruct students in exciting new ways,” said Spence. “I think we have the potential to improve student achievement by offering flexibility in the way education is administered.”
The bill next heads to the full Senate for consideration.