Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST)

The state's schoolfinancial accountability rating system, known as the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST), ensures thatTexas publicschools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve these practices. The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.

Recent Update

Changes effective with the 2022-2023 School FIRST Ratings

The Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §109.1001(n)(9)(A) and (B) was recently amended to allow for adjustments to scores and ratings upon appeal for FIRST Indicator 1—Timely Submissions of the Annual Financial Report.

Ratings

Helpful Hints for Determining Your FIRST Rating

The following steps should be taken to anticipate and make the best estimate of how a district will score on FIRST:

  1. Review the information before the annual financial audit is completed. (The annual financial report [AFR] belongs to the district, not the CPA firm.It is the district’s responsibility.)This should involve spot-checking numbers against the district’s general ledger and other financial records.
  2. Ask the auditor about anything that does not look correct in AFR.(Examples:Why is the unrestricted net position negative?Were there any identified material miscoding errors?)
  3. If deemed appropriate,ask the Education Service Center to help review the AFR before it is finalizedor contract with another CPA firm to help with the review.
  4. Use the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) Schools FIRST Template ()to run your estimated FIRST results.
  5. Attend presentations on FIRST and use the information.
  6. If you have questions, contact ջ's Financial Compliance Division at 512-463-9095 or financialaccountability@tea.texas.gov.

Correspondence

School FIRST Annual Financial Management Report Template for Use by School Districts

Law and Rules

Law:

Commissioner's Rules: