The New Albany-Plain Local School District could set up a fund for research and development.

The New Albany-Plain Local School District could set up a fund for research and development.

Superintendent April Domine on April 16 told the district's financial review and reporting committee (FRRC) she wants to set aside 1 percent of the $50 million budget, perhaps by using money from cost savings incurred at the end of the fiscal year.

FRRC member Phil Derrow said he was not in favor of using cost savings or an outside source of revenue to set up a $500,000 fund. He also cautioned that a research-and-development department needs to have "clarity of deliverables."

FRRC members questioned how the fund would work.

Molly Cooper said the district must be able to measure the department's progress.

William Neville and Parag Patel said they worried about the department's goals and how the money would be spent.

Domine said the fund would include a plan for new programs and guidelines on accessing the funds would be created. She said the district would monitor all programs receiving funding.

School board president Mark Ryan, who is a liaison to the FRRC, said part of innovation is having a license to fail.

Derrow asked if the fund would discourage teachers already working to make teaching and programs better.

Domine said current levels of innovation are limited. A research-and-development fund would allow the district more room for innovation, as well as follow the district's strategic plan.

FRRC member Brian Steel said the district should create the research-and-development fund, perhaps using $100,000 at first.

"I think we need a launching point to get us started," he said.

The school board talked about the fund during its April 9 workshop. Board members said the fund was important, considering the district's vision is "to become a leader in reinventing education."