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Not a FISRT: Little Elm ISD earns another top ranking in annual financial review
Little Elm ISD received a perfect score on the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST), an annual report that rates how well school district's manage their money. The district has been rated in the report's highest category, superior achievement, and received a perfect score for 10 consecutive years.
According to the Texas Education Code, the purpose of the rating system is to ensure that school districts are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and to improve performance in that area.
It shows that we're being financially responsible and fiscally responsible with taxpayers dollars, said Linda Engle, district CFO.
The rating system graded school districts on 20 indicators during the 2010-11 fiscal year that included the amount of debt they had per student and whether their investment earnings met or exceeded the three-month treasury bill rate. Six of those indicators are considered critical, such as filing the report on time. If those critical indicators are failed, a district is automatically deemed substandard.
Little Elm ISD received the highest grade in each category.
A public hearing was held during Monday's school board meeting in which Engle presented the results.
The vast majority of district's 900 of the 1,029 surveyed received a superior rating, meaning they received between 64 and the maximum 70 points on the metric. The category in which the fewest schools, 636, received a perfect rating was having debt related expenditures of less than $350 per student.
Twenty-one districts received failing grades.
The FISRT report also included information on how Little Elm ISD spent general fund dollars during the first quarter of the current fiscal year. The district spent $9.9 million on payroll, $1.2 million on third-party services, $494,800 on supplies and materials, $145,500 on other items, and $77,900 on land buildings and equipment.
The report also included the amount spent to reimburse Superintendent Lynne Leuthard and the district's school board members last year for meals, lodging, transportation and other expenses. Little Elm ISD paid out about $16,000 in reimbursements last year, most of which, about $12,100, went to Leuthard.