Lamesa ISD Superintendent Jim Knight gave a report in regard to the school district’s efforts to become a District of Innovation at Monday’s joint board meeting of the Lamesa Economic Development Corporation and Lamesa Economic Alliance Project.
In 2015, Knight said, the 84th Texas Legislature approved Texas House Bill 1842 that allows school districts to pursue innovative ideas and allows some exceptions for Districts of Innovation that are not available to public schools.
While many other school districts are applying for the District of Innovation title simply to help with setting up their school calendar, Knight said the Lamesa ISD’s goal is to offer training for students to fill needed employment positions in the community once they have completed high school.
He said those students could serve as apprentices or interns in needed fields and then be hired for those jobs right out of high school.
Currently Lamesa High School is sending students to Big Spring for training in cosmetology, Knight said, because the school district does not have adequate facilities to offer such courses locally.
Knight said he would like to see the school district and EDC, as well as the entire community, partner together to meet local workforce needs.
“This town is not big enough to operate independently,” Knight said, “we need to partner together.”
The superintendent said Nathan Tafoya, executive director of LEDC/LEAP, serves on a committee that has been formed by the school district to come up with a plan for a District of Innovation to present to the school board for approval within the next three months.
Once the board approves the plan for a District of Innovation, Knight said, it will be filed with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and will be good for five years.
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