Policy Details Page

Regulation 2015R

School Innovation Implementation Guidelines and Framework

Tacoma Public Schools believes in fostering innovative concepts that produce student achievement.  For the purposes of this regulation, the "compact" is composed of several concepts that are collectively agreed upon by the District and are held as expectations to be adhered to in the development of an innovative program or concept.



Schools or programs wishing to apply for waivers of District policy or regulations for the purpose of flexibility and autonomy, as set forth in Policy 2015 – School Innovation, must make those requests to the Assistant Superintendent of K-12.  District administrators will work to evaluate the requested waivers and, for those approved, will collaboratively develop a Program Compact defining the criteria and variances that are approved.  


Guidance on Requests for Financial Flexibility or Autonomy

Guidance on Requests for Financial Flexibility or Autonomy
In an effort to support flexibility or autonomy, as outlined in Policy 2015, schools and programs will have two options for requesting financial waivers:

A.    A specific dollar enhancement for the operation of a school or program can be made, or
B.    A per-student allocation (i.e., free spend model) can be requested. 

For waivers seeking a per-student “free spend” allocation, the following guidelines for funding have been determined:

•    Allocation is formula driven for school/program-wide funding on a per impacted student basis calculated as follows for the 2023-24 year:
o    Basic Education Allocation defined by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction 1191 apportionment report section V as of January 2023
o    Plus, the product of the total enrichment levy funding as certified to the Pierce County Assessor/Treasurer on November 2022 divided by the number of total school district student FTE included on the January 2023 OSPI 1191 apportionment report section V
o    The above result will be multiplied by 74% 
o    For the 2023-24 school year, this allocation rate will be set at $9,661.38
 [$10,175.22 BEA + ($77,500/26903.19) levy rate x 74%] 
•    To determine the total budgeted allocation to the school, the above per student allocation rate will be multiplied by the school’s total student headcount following the completion of the Spring optional enrollment process
•    Enrollment will also be evaluated for funding adjustments based on student FTE in November and February of each year
•    Requests for enhanced funding due to special circumstances (e.g., high localization of free and reduced lunch students) can be made 
•    Requests for carryover of unspent funds can be made before September 30 to the budget office.
•    Requests for consideration of CTE enhanced funding for teachers/programs will be requested in the same fashion and with the same expectations as all other CTE teachers in the district
•    Requests to continue funding below items at the District level can be made and adjustments to the allocation amount will follow suit.


Included in funding allocation:

All teaching staff


Program specific curriculum purchases and replenishments

Transportation, beyond regular transport to and from school

Tech equipment, software (specific)

Intern programs

CTE (staffing)

Administrative, principal, deans

Summer school (over and above district allocated funding per school)

ADA compliance (non-district owned facilities)

Data (specifically requested)

Office support


Printing and graphics

Extra work/extra pay/stipends

Professional development

Substitute charges


Crossing guards

Counseling/social worker/career counselor

Noon hour supervisor

Building schedule/bell time implications


Any required maintenance for non-District property and equipment

Highly capable





Items that would not be considered as the school or program’s responsibility if the free spend model were implemented would include:


Funded at District level:


District -wide training

Payroll processing

Capital expenses - unless donated by outside agency

Title/LAP funds


Early learning

Building maintenance of District facilities

Data – benchmarking

Communication support

Student enrollment

Legal services

Mail/delivery service

Human resources


District -wide curriculum adoptions

Instructional Facilitators


Instructional technology

General transportation services

District-wide software and Technology

CTE enhanced funding for teachers/programs

Child Nutrition

Technology firewalls, servers, email system


Student and enrollment reporting, major systems for payroll, human resource, accounting or other reporting (e.g., IEP online)

District music programs (e.g., elementary strings


National Board and ESA stipends

Security officers and security programs


Guidance on Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

Schools or programs applying for innovation status and funding shall work with the Teaching and Learning department to identify curriculum resources that meet the Washington State Standards.  Instructional strategies, practices and methodologies shall meet the guidelines and expectations of the CEL Instructional Framework. Schools or programs will be expected to administer the District and state assessments.


Approval Date: 12/7/2015

Revised Dates: 9/26/2017, 4/24/2018, 8/02/2019, 4/15/2020, 7/27/2021, 5/24/2022 5/30/2022, 5/30/2023

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