Alvin ISD receives tenth consecutive perfect financial management audit

Alvin ISD officials announced recently that the District received another rating of “Superior Achievement” under Texas’ Schools FIRST (Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas) financial accountability rating system for the 10th consecutive year. Schools FIRST is an accountability rating system for Texas school districts developed by the Texas Education Agency as authorized by Senate Bill 218 of the 77th Legislature in 2001. The Superior Achievement rating is the state’s highest, demonstrating the quality of Alvin ISD’s financial management and reporting.

The primary goals of this rating system are to efficiently assess the quality of financial management in Texas public schools; measure and report the extent to which financial resources in Texas public schools assure the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes; implement a rating system that fairly and equitably evaluates the quality of financial management decisions; improves the management of school districts’ financial resources; and increase financial accountability within Texas’ public education system.

School districts are rated on various performance indicators relating to financial management. These indicator ratings inform the district of how well they are doing financially and where the district should focus efforts for improvement. In addition to the rating of each indicator, districts receive an overall passed or failed rating. These ratings are based on an analysis of staff and student data reported, and budgetary and actual financial data.

The information that determines the School’s FIRST rating is submitted to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) via the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) and the Annual Financial Report (AFR).

“The system ensures that school districts are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and is designed to encourage Texas public schools to manage their financial resources better in order to provide the maximum allocation possible for district instructional purposes,” said Cheryl Ryan, director of finance for Alvin ISD.

The most recent audit for Alvin ISD had no reported findings. “In my 20 years of working for school districts, of which 15 years have been overseeing the financial audits, I have never experienced an audit with no findings.  This is exciting because it means that everyone in the district is working together as a team,” mentioned Ryan.

During a presentation of the financial audit, Chuck Yaple, partner of Whitley Penn, mentioned that “it’s a big accomplishment ... concerning this particular audit because this year we have no reported findings. I really do commend the District on that because we work for 20–30 school districts in the Houston area and around the state and it has become, not the norm, to be able to get through the number of compliance checks and internal control process reviews that are done as part of these audits.”

“We are very pleased with Alvin ISD’s FIRST rating,” said Alvin ISD superintendent Dr. Fred Brent.

“It shows that the District is continuing to make the most of taxpayers’ dollars and that Alvin ISD is accountable for student learning in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Deputy Superintendent for Business and Support Services Tommy King, along with Director of Finance Cheryl Ryan and their team are to be commended for the work it takes to achieve the Superior Achievement rating,” added Brent.

“Alvin ISD’s most significant financial achievement for the last completed fiscal year 2011–12 was being able to sustain an almost $10 million loss in revenue over the last biennium (almost $4.5 million a year for the last two years due to the $5.4 billion in education cuts from the Texas Legislature), while we were still growing over 800 students a year and therefore receiving less funds per student. The spending was so close that 98.3 percent was spent of the original budgeted appropriations,” said King.

For more information in regard to the FIRST rating, visit www.alvinisd.net.

Source: Alvin Sun Advertiser