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For the 19th time in 20 years, McAllen ISD has received the state’s highest mark by the Texas Education Agency’s School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas), earning a perfect score in the process, according to preliminary reports. 

The 2021-22 rating is based on the annual financial report provided to the Texas Education Agency by the District from the 2020-21 school year. 

The Superior Achievement rating serves as an indicator of the quality of the District’s financial management and reporting system. In the past 20 years, McAllen ISD has produced 15 perfect scores. 

“Congratulations to our Business Operations Division for their hard work to ensure we operate at a high level of accountability, transparency and financial management,” McAllen ISD Superintendent Dr. J.A. Gonzalez said. “The responsibility to manage the public’s dollar is taken very seriously and this team’s dedication has had a powerful impact on goals which 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 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) for the 12th consecutive fiscal year (2010-21). 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 2021–22 budget year. This is the seventh straight year (2016-22) McAllen ISD has been recognized for its comprehensive budget presentation. The award has come from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) for budget years 2017-18 through 2021-22 while the district had previously received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for budget years 2015-16 and 2016-17.
  • 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 eighth time in nine fiscal years (2013-18, 2020-21) from the National Procurement Institute, Inc. This is an international award (US & Canada). 
  • The Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) has presented the Award of Merit for Purchasing Operations to McAllen ISD five times including the last two consecutive years. The Award of Merit recognizes Texas school districts that are committed to following professional standards in the acquisition of goods and services. McAllen ISD has won this award in 2014, ’15, ’16, ’21 and ’22.