Perfect score! District earns state’s highest rating for financial integrity

For the 17th time in 18 years, preliminary reports indicate McAllen ISD has received the state’s highest mark by the Texas Education Agency’s School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas). Once again, the District did it with a perfect score – the ninth straight year it has earned perfect marks.

The 2020 rating is based on the annual financial report provided to the Texas Education Agency by the District for the 2018-19 school year.

The Superior Achievement rating serves as an indicator of the quality of the District’s financial management and reporting system.

“Congratulations to our Business Office for their hard work and ensuring that we operate at a high level of accountability and financial management,” McAllen ISD Superintendent J.A. Gonzalez, Ed.D., said. “By closely monitoring the district’s finances, we ensure that more funding is allocated to support instruction and district goals that benefit our students, staff and schools.”

The School FIRST rating system encourages public schools to better manage their financial resources in order to provide the maximum amount possible for student instruction.

The FIRST goals include:

  • Strengthen fiscal accountability
  • Improve performance in the management of district finances
  • Facilitate effective and efficient use of resources

The ratings are based on 15 financial indicators, such as operating expenditures for instruction, tax collection rates, student-teacher ratios, and long-term debt.

McAllen ISD has won several major awards in recent years for its sound fiscal practices. These include:

  • The Certificate of Achievement in Excellence in Financial Reporting by Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the ninth consecutive year. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
  • Recognized for excellence in budget presentation with the Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) for the 2019–20 budget year. This is the third straight year McAllen ISD has earned the highest recognition in government budgeting by the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). For budget years 2015-16 and 2016-17, the District received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association.
  • Maintaining a high credit rating from a major credit-rating service (Moody’s).
  • Earned Transparency Stars from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in Debt Obligations for exemplary efforts in creating financial transparency around public debt and the Transparency Star in the area of traditional finances for exemplary efforts in creating financial transparency around public services and spending decisions.
  • Awarded the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement (AEP) for six straight years from the National Procurement Institute, Inc.