TEA releases final 2022-2023 financial accountability ratings

AUSTIN The Texas Education Agency (TEA) on Monday released final financial accountability ratings for Texas public school systems. 88 percent received an “A” or Superior Achievement rating for 2022-2023, exemplifying high-quality financial management practices.

Ector County ISD earned an A rating.

Established in 2001 by the 77th Texas Legislature, the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) encourages school systems to improve financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes. Ratings for 2022-2023 are based on annual financial reports provided to TEA by school systems for the 2022 fiscal year. These reports are subsequently reviewed by the agency and a rating is assigned.

School systems are assigned one of four possible letter grades (A, B, C, or F) under financial accountability ratings, as well as a coinciding financial management rating (Superior Achievement, Above Standard Achievement, Meets Standard Achievement, or Substandard Achievement).

Final FIRST ratings for the 2022-2023 school year are as follows:

FIRST ratings are calculated using 20 financial indicators for both traditional school districts and public charter schools, such as administrative cost expenditures; the accuracy of a district or charter school’s financial information submitted to TEA; and any financial vulnerabilities or material weaknesses in internal controls as determined by an external auditor.

There are critical indicators that result in an automatic F or Substandard Achievement rating should a school system fail in that specific category – regardless of their overall score. Final FIRST ratings for charter schools operated by a public institution of higher education (IHE) are assigned separately. IHEs are assigned either a Pass or Fail rating based on seven different indicators. For 2022-2023, six out of seven charter schools operated by a public institution of higher education received a final FIRST rating of Pass.

All Texas public school systems are required to share their financial accountability ratings with parents and taxpayers and host a public discussion or hearing regarding their financial report. To review the final 2022-2023 FIRST ratings for all school systems (plus view final FIRST ratings from previous years), visit the TEA School FIRST webpage for school districts or Charter FIRST webpage for charter schools.