Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas

The state's school financial accountability rating system, known as the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST), ensures that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve those practices. The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.

Ratings

School District FIRST Ratings  

 

Helpful Hints for Determining Your FIRST Rating

The following steps should be taken to anticipate and to make the best estimate of how a district will score on FIRST:

  1. Review the information before the annual financial audit is completed (the Annual Financial Report belongs to the district not the CPA firm, it is the district’s responsibility). This should involve spot checking numbers against the district’s general ledger and other financial records
  2. Ask the auditor about anything that does not look correct in the annual financial report (i.e. why is the unrestricted net position negative, were there any identified material miscoding errors, etc?)
  3. If deemed appropriate, ask the Education Service Center to help review the AFR before it is finalized, or contract with another CPA firm to help with the review
  4. Use the TASBO FIRST template to run your estimated FIRST results. https://www.tasbo.org/resource/tools-templates/schools-first
  5. Attend and use the presentations on FIRST
  6. Contact TEA Financial Accountability if you have questions 512-463-9095 or financialaccountability@tea.texas.gov
The official FIRST rules: includes worksheets that provide the formulas and point range determinations: http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=19&pt=2&ch=109&rl=1001

Correspondence

Financial Management Report Template for Use by School Districts

Law and Rules

Law: Texas Education Code, Chapter 39, Subchapter D 

Commissioner's Rules: 19 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 109, Subchapter AA, Division 1, Financial Accountability Rating System