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In 2015, the 84th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1842, allowing public school districts to obtain the designation of District of Innovation and gain exemption from certain Texas Education Code provisions. This designation allows independent school districts to have flexibilities currently available to open-enrollment charter schools.

During the spring of 2017, Highland Park ISD, having met the state's eligibility requirements, began consideration of developing an innovation plan that reflects the unique needs of the district and allows the district to assume greater local control. The process began with a Board of Trustees resolution, a public hearing and appointment of a committee to develop or decline the plan. After seeking input from assorted stakeholders, including principals and administrators with review by district counsel, the final proposal was approved by the District Leadership Council, posted for a 30-day review by the community, and was approved by the HPISD School Board on March 21, 2017.