Existing District Autonomy Options
Since 1995, school districts have had the option to become home rule school districts through a petition, public charter drafting, and election process. A home rule district could eliminate a democratically elected school board in favor of another governing structure, including an appointed board. Home rule districts can also be freed from certain state laws.
No Texas district has elected to become a home rule district. An attempt in 2014 by Dallas ISD exposed several flaws that made the home rule process difficult to complete. Although it was debated by the legislature in 2015, no bills were passed to update or change the home rule statute.
In 2013, the 83rd Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 2. Among other reforms related to charter school authorization and oversight, SB 2 provided a new option for school autonomy by authorizing the creation of local district charters with the same freedoms as open enrollment charter schools. Created by a simple majority vote of the board of trustees, a local district charter can operate with all of the freedoms of an open enrollment charter without having to contract with an independent manager.