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ROISD improves to 'A' grade on Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) report

Daily Light Report

Red Oak ISD recently announced that the district received a Superior Achievement grade of ‘A’ on the 2020 Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) report.

According to a news release, "The Schools FIRST system started in 2001 to include financial data into the Texas public education accountability system. The system provides for public transparency, assesses the financial management of a public school system, and ensures districts are striving for academic success both cost-effectively and efficiently. ROISD scored 90 points this year; the district had a ‘B’ rating of 88 last year."

The FIRST rating has been amended many times over the years. 

Currently, districts can earn a maximum of 100 points on 15 financial indicators. Five indicators are pass or fail, four are all 10 points or 0 points and six indicators are on a 0-10 scale score, according to the release.

This year, Red Oak ISD passed all four critical indicators; indicator No. 5 was not included in this year’s calculation. Numbers 1-4 relate to the annual report submission on time, an unmodified “clean” audit which is free of material weaknesses, bond payments submitted on time, and payroll withholdings made to appropriate agencies.

For the next six categories, the district had increases in three indicators to eight points and received the full 10 points in two indicators. These categories include assets to liabilities, revenues vs. expenditures, debt service ratio, and administrative cost ratio.

On the final four categories (all or none), the district received the full 10 points in each category: students to staff ratio, PEIMS funding variances, audit compliance, and FSP funds due to financial hardship.

“Red Oak ISD strives to be financially responsible and fiscally transparent to our taxpayers,” stated CFO Bill Johnston in the release. “This Superior rating, and our preliminary estimate of a score of 92 for next year, are evidence of the district’s dedication to financial management and accountability.”

The finance office has received several awards this school year, including Top School Purchasing Team Award of Merit from the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO). From the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO), they earned the Meritorious Budget Award and International’s Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award (COE).

“The Award of Merit was created to recognize Texas school districts, open-enrollment charter schools, and education services centers that are committed to following professional standards in the acquisition of goods and services. It is an honor to recognize these recipients,” said Tracy Ginsburg, TASBO executive director.

For more information on the FIRST rating, visit the TEA website, https://tea.texas.gov/finance-and-grants/financial-accountability/financial-integrity-rating-system-of-texas-first/financial-integrity-rating-system-of-texas

For the Red Oak ISD district detail, visit - https://tealprod.tea.state.tx.us/First/forms/District.aspx?year=2018&district=070911