TEA Releases Final 2021-2022 Financial Accountability Ratings
AUSTIN, Texas – November 10, 2022 – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) today announced final financial accountability ratings for more than 1,200 school districts and charter schools across the state, with 85 percent earning the highest rating possible for 2021-2022.
Created in 2001 by the 77th Texas Legislature, the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) is designed to encourage public schools to improve their management of financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.
The FIRST ratings are calculated using twenty (20) financial indicators for school districts and twenty-one (21) financial indicators for open-enrollment charter schools, such as administrative cost expenditures; the accuracy of a district’s or charter school’s financial information submitted to TEA; and any financial vulnerabilities or material weaknesses in internal controls as determined by an external auditor.
Ratings for 2021-2022 are based on annual financial reports provided to TEA by districts and charter schools for the 2021 fiscal year. The financial accountability rating system requires TEA to review the audited financial reports from all districts and charter schools.
A school district or charter school is assigned one of four letter grades (A, B, C, or F), as well as a coinciding financial management rating (Superior Achievement, Above Standard Achievement, Meets Standard Achievement, or Substandard Achievement).
For 2021-2022, the final FIRST ratings are as follows:
There are five critical indicators that result in an automatic F or Substandard Achievement rating should a school district or charter school fail in that specific category – regardless of overall score.
In addition, FIRST ratings for charter schools operated by a public institution of higher education (IHE) are assigned separately. Based on 7 indicators, IHEs are assigned either a Pass or Fail rating. For 2021-2022, every public institution of higher education operating a charter school (7) received a final FIRST rating of Pass.
For IHEs, there are two critical indicators that result in an automatic Fail rating should an IHE fail in that specific category – regardless of the overall score.
All school districts and charter schools are required to report information and financial accountability ratings to parents and taxpayers. In addition, districts and charter schools must hold a public discussion or hearing regarding its financial report.
To review the final 2021-2022 FIRST ratings for all districts and charter schools (plus view final FIRST ratings from previous years), visit the TEA website at http://tea.texas.gov/index4.aspx?id=3864.