The purpose of this letter is to notify you of the availability for review of your charter school’s preliminary 2012 Charter School – School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) rating based on financial indicators per 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §109.1002(g). A charter school’s 2012 School FIRST rating is based upon an analysis of financial data for fiscal year 2011(i.e., the fiscal period ended June 30, 2011, or August 31, 2011, depending upon the ending date of the charter school’s fiscal year).
School FIRST Rating and Data
Your rating and data that were analyzed by the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA’s) automated process for generating School FIRST ratings are accessible by the charter school at https://pryor.tea.state.tx.us/. Please carefully review your charter school’s preliminary School FIRST rating and the data supporting the 19 indicators.
Opportunity for Appeal
If the charter school believes that its rating was based on a data error solely attributable to TEA’s review of the data for any of the 19 indicators, the charter school may submit a written appeal with supporting evidence to the Division of Financial Audits. The written appeal must be submitted to the following address and received by TEA by July 30, 2012:
Texas Education Agency
Division of Financial Audits
1701 N. Congress Ave.
Austin TX 78701
Any errors made by the charter school in recording data or submitting data through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) will not constitute a valid basis for appeal.
Please review 19 TAC §109.1002(i) for the rules regarding the filing of an appeal. Only appeals that would result in a change to a charter school’s rating will be considered. Final ratings will be issued to charter schools after the TEA’s review of any appeals of the preliminary ratings. It is anticipated that the final 2012 Charter FIRST ratings will be available to charter schools on or about September 13, 2012.
Required Reporting after Receipt of Final Charter School FIRST Rating
On or about September 13, 2012, the final Charter School – School FIRST ratings will be available. Within two months of the release of the ratings, each 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 of the 19 indicators for the current year and the three indicators for the prior year. The first of two required published newspaper notices, to inform the public of the meeting, may not be more than 30 days or less than 14 days prior to the public meeting, in accordance with 19 TAC §109.1005. The public meeting to present the Charter School – School FIRST rating may be combined with a scheduled regular meeting of the governing board.
At the public meeting, the charter school should review the disclosures that must be included in the financial management report. The charter school will be required to report on reimbursements to the superintendent and board members, for the 2010–2011 school year, and either post the current superintendent’s contract on the charter school’s website or supply it in the financial management report.
The charter school must also provide a summary schedule of the data previously submitted to TEA under the financial solvency provisions of TEC §39.0822. The TEA website (http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter109/ch109aa.html) provides the required reporting disclosures, described in 19 TAC §109.1005. Additionally, TEA’s Division of Financial Audits has a template posted on its FIRST page (http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=6491) that charter schools may use to help facilitate the compilation of this information. The charter school is encouraged to provide additional information in the report that will be beneficial to the public, especially information explaining special circumstances, if any, that may have affected the charter school’s performance under one or more of the indicators.
A corrective action plan is to be filed with TEA by each charter school that receives a final rating of Substandard Achievement or Suspended—Data Quality.
Accreditation and Special Education Determination Statuses
Please note that, in accordance with the Accreditation Status rules at 19 TAC §97.1055, TEA will take into consideration a district’s or charter’s School FIRST rating when assigning an accreditation status.
Additionally, a charter school’s final School FIRST rating may impact its special education determination status as issued by the TEA under the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §300.608(a).
Planned Modifications to School FIRST Rules
Modifications to the School FIRST rules are planned which will affect the ratings in the future. Proposed revisions will be disseminated for public comment through the agency’s established rule adoption process.
For Further Information
If you have questions about your charter school’s School FIRST rating, please contact me by telephone at (512) 463-9095 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Division of Financial Audits - Office for Grants and Fiscal Compliance