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District Receives Perfect Score in State Financial Accountability System

For the 18th straight year, Denton ISD has achieved the highest possible rating in the school Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST), the financial accountability system established by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2001.  The district received a perfect score of 100, which has been accomplished for the past eight years consecutively.


Denton ISD is among the 88 percent of Texas school districts to receive an “A” or Superior rating for 2020, which is based on the district’s annual financial report for the 2019 fiscal year.


“Each year, our goal is to receive the Superior rating, and the fact that we’ve achieved that goal the past eight years is significant especially due to the complexity of the accounting associated with Texas’ school finance system,” said Dr. Scott Niven, chief financial officer.  “The Schools FIRST accountability rating makes sure that Texas school districts are accountable not only for student learning but also for achieving these results both cost-effectively and efficiently. The information provided by the Schools FIRST system will guide us in our continued efforts to make the most of our taxpayer dollars.”


FIRST ratings are in place to hold districts accountable for the quality of their financial management practices, to provide a maximum allocation for direct instructional purposes and to evaluate the quality of the district’s financial management decisions.


There are 15 financial indicators used to calculate FIRST ratings.  Examples of those indicators are sufficient days cash on hand, general fund revenues exceed general fund expenditures, debt service coverage ratio and administrative cost ratio.


All school districts and charter schools in the state of Texas are required to report information and financial accountability ratings to parents and taxpayers, although the criteria charter schools must meet is less comprehensive and transparent.


“It’s good news to see the eight-year trend continue,” said Doug Chadwick, trustee. “Congratulations to our staff for continuing to provide financial excellence in our community and for earning this elite distinction.”