Harlandale ISD earns Superior FIRST rating

Harlandale ISD earns Superior FIRST rating
Posted on 08/16/2019
Harlandale ISD earns Superior FIRST rating

Harlandale ISD earned a “Superior” rating in the 2018-2019 Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) for the 2017- 2018 school year, scoring 98 out of 100 points on the report.

This is the district’s 16th consecutive “Superior” rating since the inception of the rating system.

According to the TEA, “The state's school financial accountability rating system ensures that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve those practices. The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.”

“This rating sets the criteria and the bar for all of us to meet,” Harlandale ISD Assistant Superintendent for Business Richard Hernandez said. “We follow their guidance to help demonstrate accountability to the community and taxpayers. The district is graded on finances just as it is on academic performance by the district students.”

The critical indicators that must be met with a direct “yes” response, otherwise it receives an “F” for substandard achievement, deal with receiving a clean audit opinion, timely reporting, and meeting debt and specific operational payments to such agencies as TRS and the IRS.

“Another indicator the district passed was that it was free of any instances of material weakness in internal controls over compliance for local, state, or federal funds,” Hernandez added. “The fiscal indicators met by the district indicate that it manages its resources prudently with maximizing the allowed points in this area.”

Such indicators reflect the district had sufficient cash on hand to meet operating expenditures above the required days, sufficient assets to meet its current and long-term liabilities, and fund balance or cash on hand when its resources are exceeded by its expenditures.

Over the last six years, Harlandale ISD has also maintained an unreserved/unrestricted fund balance or sometimes called a savings from $53.3 million in 2013-2014 to $47.5 million in 2017-2018. Included in this amount is two and a half months of operations or $27 million that the district works to maintain. However, the district has made efforts, in a fiscally responsible way, to utilize it as evident from the spend down of the $5.8 million during those periods.

TEA developed this rating system as a result of the 77th Texas Legislature and has refined it since then to enhance in meeting the stated objective above. 

“It takes a lot of work by every department across the district, and I know it could not have been done without everyone’s help,” Harlandale ISD Interim Superintendent Samantha Gallegos said. “Congratulations for your dedication and well deserved recognition.”

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