Los Fresnos earns top financial accountability rating

For the 18th straight year, the Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District has received a Superior Achievement rating from the Texas Education Agency’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas or FIRST

Chief Financial Officer Pablo Bazaldua presented the FIRST report to the Los Fresnos CISD Board of Trustees at its meeting Monday. The FIRST rating covered the 2019-2020 school year.

The district has been scored every year since the inception of FIRST in 2002-03. Los Fresnos CISD received a perfect score of 100 on the 15 indicators for the 2020-2021 school year. The district has received perfect scores nine out of the last 10 years.

“The Business Office has worked really hard to obtain this rating and it was a team effort by everyone,” Bazaldua said.  “Our primary goal has been to be transparent and convey fiscal responsibility in everything that we do.”

FIRST ensures that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve those 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.

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

TEA assigned one of four financial accountability ratings to Texas school districts, with the highest being “A” for “Superior Achievement,” followed by “B” for “Above-Standard Achievement,” “C” for “Standard Achievement” and “F” for “Substandard Achievement.”