Hidalgo ISD successfully appeals faulty FIRST rating

HIDALGO — Hidalgo ISD received some good news Thursday when the TEA announced that it had approved an appeal made by the district on the FIRST rating it was issued in August.

The Financial Integrity Rating System, or FIRST, is a program designed to hold districts in Texas accountable for their fiscal practices.

The program rates district annually on a points system that corresponds to a rating on a scale from A to F.

Hidalgo ISD received enough points in August to receive a B, or “Above Standard” rating, but the score was voided on account of a clerical error, resulting in TEA giving the district a lower rating.

According to superintendent Xavier Salinas, a category on the district’s paperwork was incorrectly changed when they reached TEA.

“Somebody from TEA changed that indicator to ‘no,’” he said. “When they changed that it brought us down to an F.”

The successful appeal means that the final score for Hidalgo ISD’s 2019 rating is a B.

Salinas said the rating is a big deal for the district.

“It’s extremely important,” he said. “No district wants to be rated like that. It can affect future bonds, it can affect our credit score. Everything. Because of the change we’ll be back in good graces with everyone.”

The corrected FIRST report for Hidalgo ISD is available on the TEA website.