The Glen Rose Independent School District should be a little more flexible starting with the 2018-19 school year.

The GRISD Board of Trustees on Monday voted unanimously to officially become a “District of Innovation.”

The Texas Legislature created the district of innovation category with a law passed in 2015, allowing public school districts to have the same flexibility available to charter schools.

GRISD Superintendent Wayne Rotan said the designation has a lot to do with having a uniform starting date for the school year.

“We’re looking to get more instructional days in before the tests,” Rotan told the board members before their vote at the GRISD Administration Building.

The change will also give the school flexibility in teacher certification, teacher-student class size ratios, and in school calendar scheduling, according to Rotan.

“One of the main reasons is we’re looking for flexibilty in the school start date,” Rotan said after the meeting. “We’re not looking to increase class size, just have a safety net. Our key focus is on quality teachers, class size and ‘time on task.’ We’re not looking to change any of those. Those are our three core principles.”

Rotan explained that the “time on task” means “working bell to bell in the classroom every day.”

The teacher certification flexibility means the school can be flexible in bringing in career and technical experts — such as licensed electricians, plumbers or surveyors — who don’t have a teaching certificate but offer valuable knowledge that some students can learn from.

Those chosen to be on the GRISD committee to develop the innovation plan are Chair Susan Wright; principals Kelly Shackelford, Vicki Goebel, Lauri Mapes, and Debbie Morris; assistant principals Jason Pounds,Tommy Gibson, and Jerrod Tidwell; Instructional Facilitator Teri Teaff; school counselors Candy McClure, Linda Nance, Stephanie Rotan, Courtney Cordova, and Teresa Morris; teachers Shayla Hoffman, Jill Evans, Megan Boone, Iyanet Blair, Patty Snodgrass, Kristy Snow, Elisha Watkins, Bridgett Holder, Kimber Gardner, Connie Skiles, and Mandy Gosdin; and parents Jayson Treadaway, Lindsay Treadaway, and Melissa Young.

Additional teacher representatives and parents will be named to the committee in the future.

Director of Finance Judy Shipman addressed the board to inform them that the GRISD’s FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) rating has been scored at 82. Shipman said that the mark is “considered above average.”

Rotan mentioned the GRISD had been graded with a perfect FIRST score “the last several years.” But, Rotan noted, the litigation involved over the assessed tax rate of the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power plant last year “cost us a little over half a million dollars,” by the time the lawsuit was settled.

Rotan told the trustees that the GRISD student enrollment number is now at 1,809, which represents an increase of 3 percent.

Earlier in the meeting, Glen Rose High School student Payte Treadaway was honored during the meeting in acknowledgement of receiving a letter of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Also, each of GRISD’s school principals were honored, in recognition of October being Principals Month in Texas. The GRISD principals — Shackelford, Goebel, Mapes and Morris, along with vice principals Teri Teaff, Pounds, Gibson and Tidwell were brought to the front for a round of applause from those attending.