Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mission CISD earns state's highest fiscal accountability rating

Mission CISD (Consolidated Independent School District) officials have
received preliminary word that the district has qualified to receive a
rating of "Superior Achievement" under Texas' School FIRST financial
accountability rating system. Final ratings will be issued to school
districts in mid-August.

The superior achievement rating is the state's highest, demonstrating
the quality of Mission CISD's financial management and reporting
system. This will be the fourth year in a row the district has
received the highest rating since they were first started.

The School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) was
developed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in response to Senate
Bill 218 of the 77thTexas Legislature in 2001. The primary goal of
Schools FIRST is to achieve quality performance in the management of
school districts' financial resources, a goal made more significant
due to the complexity of accounting associated with Texas' school
finance system.

"We are very pleased with Mission CISD's School FIRST rating," said
Mission CISDSuperintendent Oscar Rodriguez, Jr., "as it shows that our
district is continuing to make the most of our taxpayer dollars. The
superior achievement rating shows that Mission CISD is accountable not
only for student learning, but also for achieving these results using
cost-effective and efficient practices.

The School FIRST accountability rating system assigns one of four
financial accountability ratings to Texas school district, with the
highest being "Superior Achievement," followed by "Above-Standard
Achievement," "Standard Achievement" and "Substandard Achievement."
Districts with serious data quality problems may receive the
additional rating of "Suspended Data Quality."

To arrive at the School FIRST ratings, the TEA looks at 21 different
indicators, including: cost ratios, student to teacher ratios, fund
balance information, operating expenditures, tax collections, and
annual financial reports. The 2006 rating is based upon an analysis of
staff and student data reported for the 2004-2005 school year and the
budgetary and actual financial data for the 2005 fiscal year.

The TEA has proposed additional refinements to the School FIRST
process effecting ratings beginning in 2008. TEA indicates these
adjustments include the addition of several new indicators and
"raising the bar" for several other indicators. As required by the
TEA, district officials will hold a public hearing and make a
financial management report available for parents and taxpayers after
the final ratings notification has been received from TEA officials.

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