Natalia ISD gets top marks in financial accountability

Natalia ISD earned a Superior grade of 98 in the Texas Education Agency’s 2019-2020 financial accountability rating.
The Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) is a financial accountability rating system that judges schools on their financial management. The reports are based on audited data collected by the state and are a fiscal year behind, meaning that the 2019-2020 rating is based on data from fiscal year 2018-2019.
“I like to call it the financial report card in the school district world,” said Executive Director of Finance Norma Friddle.
Districts are scored on 15 indicators on a 100-point scale. Schools that score 90-100 points earn an A, or Superior, rating, while 80-89 points is Above Standard and 60-79 points Meets Standard. A score of 59 or lower is rated as Substandard Achievement.

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Five Critical Indicators are scored on a pass/fail basis, while the remaining 10 are scored on a 10-point scale. Districts must pass all five Critical Indicators in order to receive a passing rating.
Natalia passed the five Critical Indicators and received top marks on all the other indicators except the administrative cost ratio, which looks at the cost of instructional leadership and general administration compared to the cost of instructional functions.
The administrative cost function is determined by adding the cost of instructional leadership and general administration ($762,381) and dividing that number by the sum of the cost of money spent on instruction, instructional resources and material, curriculum and professional development, and guidance and counseling ($5,670,600).
Natalia’s score of 0.1345 was just above the 0.1311 required to earn all 10 points.
“We know that on the administrative side, we do need to be careful with that,” Friddle said. “Being a rural school district, sometimes you have to pay a little bit more.”
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer