FIRST -- Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas
FIRST, Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, was established by the 76th Legislature in 1999. The indicators used in the rating systems were developed collaboratively with Texas Business and Education Council (TBEC), Texas Education Agency (TEA), and Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO).
Objectives of the System were to: access the quality of the financial management of each District in comparison to all other districts; to measure and the extent to which financial resources are allocated for direct instructional purposes; to fairly evaluate the quality of financial management decisions and to openly report results or outcomes to the general public.
Over the last ten years indicators have been evaluated and changed by TEA. The last change happened in 2011, which added indicators in respect to financial solvency. Six (6) of the twenty (20) indicators are pass/fail and they relate to the fund balance issues and outcomes reported by the District’s annual audit. The other fourteen (14) indicators relate to fiscal performance and the quality of financial reporting, administrative cost ratio, staffing patterns and cash management practices.
There are four levels of achievement based on a maximum score of 68 and a failing score of 51. Superior Achievement score is 64-70. Above Standard Achievement is 58-63. Standard Achievement is 52-57 and Substandard Achievement (failing) of less than 52.
The changes to the School FIRST system implemented by the Texas Education Agency in August 2015 are being phased-in over three years.
The School FIRST accountability rating system assigns one of two financial accountability ratings to Texas school districts, with the highest being “P” for “Passed” and the other rating being “F” for “Substandard Achievement. ”P” for “Passed” “F” for “Substandard Achievement.
Districts that receive the “Substandard Achievement” ratings under School FIRST must file a corrective action plan with the Texas Education Agency.
Graham ISD has been awarded a Superior Achievement every year in regard to FIRST.