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Humble ISD receives superior rating in annual financial report card

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rick Janacek

For the 11th year in a row, the Humble Independent School District received a Superior Achievement rating from the Texas Education Agency’s Schools FIRST rating report.

The annual financial accountability rating system and report was developed by the Texas Legislature in 2001. It was developed by the TEA, Texas Association of School Business Officials and Texas Business and Education Council and is administered by the TEA. The report is designed to ensure school districts have quality financial management systems in place. The TEA says the system encourages public schools to have better management of their financial resources so that the district can allocate the maximum funds possible for the education of students.

The rating system considers a variety of factors including a district’s financial management practices, annual financial report, fund balance, collection of property taxes and ratio of students to teachers.

“FIRST uses the districts PEIMS data and our annual financial data to answer twenty questions with yes or no indicators,” said Ida Schultze, Humble ISD’s Director of accounting and financial reporting. “The rating is determined by the sum of the weighted average of your scores to each of the indicators.”

The TEA issues ratings of Superior Achievement, Above-Standard Achievement, Standard Achievement or Substandard Achievement to each district based on results. There are six “critical” indicators in the report.

“A response of no to any one of these could be a signal of financial distress,” Schultze said. “These questions focus on the audit report, our fund balance, compliance with our debt requirements, and our external auditor findings.”

If a district answers “no” to three of the indicators, it earns a substandard rating automatically. Humble ISD answered “yes” to all six critical indicators. In fact, not only did Humble ISD receive a Superior Achievement rating, it received a perfect score of 70.

Schultze delivered the good news to the Humble ISD Board of Trustees and Humble ISD Superintendent Dr. Guy Sconzo at a special public hearing before its regular October meeting.

“Receiving the top rating for every year, 11 consecutive years, that the rating system was put in by the state is really no small feat,” Sconzo said. “All the credit, literally, goes to Ms. Lynn [Lynn Lynn, Humble ISD Chief Financial Officer] and Ms. Schultze and the entire financial services division. It takes all of them to be certain that we are more than just compliant. We are really exceeding what the state expects regarding financial management.”

Around the state, more than 98 percent of Texas school district passed the FIRST report. Only 14 school districts, or 1.36 percent, failed the report. 88.34 percent percent received a Superior Achievement rating, accounting for more than 900 districts throughout the, state. 87, school districts, or 8.45 percent, received an Above Standard rating and 19 school districts received a standard rating. The 14 school districts that received the Substandard Achievement ratings are now required to file a corrective action plan with the Texas Education Agency. Districts with serious problems can also get a Suspended rating.

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