Harmony receives ‘straight A’s’ from TEA in latest FIRST financial accountability rating

All seven Harmony Public Schools districts received “Superior” A+ scores from the Texas Educational Agency on the agency’s annual FIRST financial accountability ratings, the TEA announced.

Created by the 77th Texas Legislature in 2001, the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) is designed to encourage public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.

The FIRST ratings are calculated using 15 financial indicators, such as administrative cost expenditures; the accuracy of a district or charter’s financial information submitted to TEA; and any financial vulnerabilities or material weaknesses in internal controls as determined by an external auditor, a news release said.

Harmony’s district-by-district scores are:

  • Harmony Public Schools-Central Texas (Austin, Pflugerville, Cedar Park): 98
  • Harmony Public Schools-Houston North (Houston, Bryan, Cypress, Katy): 100
  • Harmony Public Schools-Houston South (Houston): 98
  • Harmony Public Schools-West Houston (Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, Beaumont): 100
  • Harmony Public Schools-North Texas Greater DFW, Waco): 96
  • Harmony Public Schools-South Texas (San Antonio, Laredo, Brownsville): 96
  • Harmony Public Schools-West Texas (El Paso, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa): 100

To ensure effective, efficient and ethical use of all public funds entrusted to it, Harmony practices a number of financial safeguards as part of its regular operations. Among these are regular independent financial audits from third-party accounting firms and regular participation in its purchasing process from the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO). In Spring 2023, Harmony made history by becoming the first Texas public charter school to win both TASBO’s Award of Excellence in Financial Management and Award of Merit for Purchasing Operations.