IMPORTANT ACCREDITATION INFORMATION
August 8, 2016
To the Administrator Addressed:
Subject: Official Notification of Preliminary 2015–2016 Charter FIRST Rating
Your charter school’s preliminary 2015–2016 Charter Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) rating is now available in the online Charter FIRST system. To access the Charter FIRST system:
Basis for Charter FIRST Rating
Your charter school’s rating is based on an analysis of the charter school’s financial data for fiscal year 2015 (the fiscal period ended June 30, 2015, or August 31, 2015, depending on the ending date of your charter school’s fiscal year). We determined your charter school’s rating using the financial indicators specified in 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §109.1001(f).
Please carefully review your charter school’s preliminary Charter FIRST rating and the data associated with each of the 15 indicators.
Opportunity for Appeal
If your charter school wants to appeal an adverse issue it identifies in the preliminary rating, your charter school may submit a written appeal with supporting evidence to the Division of Financial Compliance. For the appeal to be considered, we must receive it by September 8, 2016. Send any appeal to the following address:
Texas Education Agency
Division of Financial Compliance
1701 North Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
The financial accountability rating system is required to apply the rules uniformly. Therefore, an error by a charter school in recording data or submitting data through the TEA data collection and reporting system is not a valid basis for appealing a preliminary rating and unlikely to negate concerns raised by the indicator.
Please see 19 TAC §109.1001(l) for the rules regarding the filing of an appeal. As stated in that section, we will consider only an appeal that would result in a change to your charter school’s rating.
Final Charter FIRST Rating and Required Reporting
We will issue final ratings to charter schools after we have reviewed any submitted appeals. Final 2015–2016 Charter FIRST ratings are anticipated to be released in October 2016.
Within two months of the release of its final Charter FIRST rating, your charter school must announce and hold a public meeting to distribute a financial management report that explains the charter school’s rating and its performance under each indicator for the current and previous year’s ratings. The report also must provide the financial information described in 19 TAC §109.1001(o)(3). We encourage your charter school to include in the report additional information that will be beneficial to stakeholders, especially information explaining any special circumstances that may have affected the charter school’s performance under one or more of the indicators.
The first of two required newspaper notices to inform taxpayers of the meeting must be published no more than 30 days and no fewer than 14 days before the public meeting. Your charter school may combine the meeting with a scheduled regular meeting of the board of trustees.
For full requirements related to the report and meeting, see 19 TAC §109.1001(o). For a template that your charter school can use in developing its financial management report, see the TEA Charter FIRST web page.
Please note that the TEA considers a charter school’s Charter FIRST rating when assigning an accreditation status, as required by the accreditation status rules in 19 TAC §97.1055.
Contact for Further Information
If you have questions about your charter school’s Charter FIRST rating, please contact Yolanda Walker at (512) 463-0947 or by email at Yolanda.Walker@tea.texas.gov.
Director of Financial Compliance
Office of School Finance