Meaningful Texas ISD Transparency Ratings

Local ISD’s tout their award for Financial Transparency, such as Frisco Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Lyon noting “Frisco ISD is honored to be among the first recipients of the prestigious Platinum Award from the Texas Comptroller, the community expects us to be good stewards of their investment in public education and transparency in our daily operations is critical. FISD taxpayers can also be proud of this accomplishment.”

Dr. Edd Bigbee, chief financial officer for McKinney ISD proclaimed “I am elated that our district received the Superior Achievement on the FIRST ratings for the 12th consecutive year, this rating, along with the items posted on the website and our annual audit, helps communicate to the public that McKinney ISD is a great steward of the funds we receive.

These proclamations and awards sound impressive, but an examination of these awards, show that they are little more than a publicity stunt for local governments, exploiting the naivety of the public. These awards are as meaningful as the “participation or entitlement awards that Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison returned to his children’s school stating “Sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better.”

Platinum Award from the Texas Comptroller

The Platinum Award won by Frisco (and McKinney) was established by the Comptroller of Public Accounts in 2009, to recognize local entities that “meet a high standard for financial transparency online” through a  voluntary “self-scoring nomination process” levels that include:

  • Platinum” spotlights entities that go above and beyond providing financial transparency.
  • Gold” highlights those entities that are setting the bar with their transparency efforts.
  • Silver” encourages those who are making progress.
  • Bronze” inspires those who are just beginning their transparency efforts.

An analysis of the performance shows, not surprising, shows that 90% of the districts, who have that submitted the voluntary, self-scoring applications, achieved the highest ratings.

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
BRONZE 13 5 1 2
GOLD 97 97 126 152 10 2
PLATINUM 141 52
SILVER 7 10 7 12 14 3
Grand Total 117 112 134 164 165 59

School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) Ratings

The FIRST rating were developed to “that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve those practices.

Just like Texas Controller awards, the FIRST rating have nearly 90% of Texas ISD achieving the highest rating possible.

School Year 2013-2014

Superior Achievement 912 89.1%
Above Standard Achievement 83 8.1%
Standard Achievement 16 1.6%
Substandard Achievement 12 1.2%
1023

School Year 2012-2013

Superior Achievement 909 88.3%
Above Standard Achievement 87 8.5%
Standard Achievement 19 1.8%
Substandard Achievement 14 1.4%
1029

Texas ISD Transparency Ratings

In an attempt to judge the true transparency of our local school districts, Texas Transparency has created a new (meaningful) standard of your local entities information sharing quality, that is based upon:

  • Live Streaming  and Video Archive Board of Trustees meeting. Beginning in 2016, with the passage of HB 283, districts with enrollment over 10,000 will be required to provide and maintain an archive of video and audio recordings of regular meetings.
  • Availability of Agenda Packets. In order to comply with the Texas Open Meeting Act, the meeting “ agenda must be posted and readily accessible to the public at all times for at least 72 hours preceding the meeting“. Some entities supply the Agenda Packets that provide additional supporting materials, such as copies of the presentations, that will be shown during the meetings. This is material that is supplied to the trustees and should be provided to the public.
  • Meeting Minutes – these are a synopsis of the discussion and votes of the meeting.
  • Campaign Financial Documents – candidates and PAC’s are required to submit forms and disclosure documents. The Texas Ethics Commission posts this information for state offices, but obtaining this information locally can be a challenge.
  • Check Registers – are provided to inform the public how money is being spent.

Here are the scales used to judge Texas ISD’s, in terms of Transparency.

TT Scale

Here are the Top 100 (by enrollment) of Texas school districts, listed by county. Just click on the links provided, to view information provided by your district.

ISD Grade Total Points Video Packets Minutes Campaign Registers
014 BELL
KILLEEN ISD B 36 2014 2006 2004 No No
015 BEXAR
NORTH EAST ISD A 52 2012 2006 2006 2012 2012
JUDSON ISD B 37 2012 No 2012 2011 2008
SAN ANTONIO ISD B 34 No 2008 2008 No 2010
HARLANDALE ISD C 27 2013 2013 2013 No 2014
NORTHSIDE ISD D 24 No 2009 No 2012 2015
EDGEWOOD ISD F 17 No No 2011 No 2012
SOUTHWEST ISD F 13 No No No No 2007
020 BRAZORIA
PEARLAND ISD C 31 2013 2013 2013 2015 2015
ALVIN ISD D 24 2012 2012 2012 No No
BRAZOSPORT ISD D 23 2014 2012 2011 No No
021 BRAZOS
COLLEGE STATION ISD B 36 No 2010 2008 No 2006
BRYAN ISD D 24 2014 No 2011 No 2011
031 CAMERON
HARLINGEN CISD A 51 2012 2005 2005 No 2007
BROWNSVILLE ISD D 24 2014 No 2012 No 2010
SAN BENITO CISD F 7 No No 2013 No No
043 COLLIN
PLANO ISD A 56 2008 2008 2008 2012 2008
ALLEN ISD A 53 2009 2006 2005 2015 2012
FRISCO ISD A 49 2010 2014 2004 2013 2010
LOVEJOY ISD B 38 2015 2007 2009 No 2011
MELISSA ISD C 28 No 2006 2006 No No
PROSPER ISD D 23 No 2009 2008 No No
COMMUNITY ISD D 20 No No 2012 No 2008
WYLIE ISD D 19 No No 2013 No 2008
ANNA ISD D 18 No No 2007 No 2015
MCKINNEY ISD F 17 No No 2010 No 2013
CELINA ISD F 14 No 2006 No No No
PRINCETON ISD F 9 No No 2011 No No
FARMERSVILLE ISD F 9 No No No No 2011
IMAGINE INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF N F 0 No No No No No
046 COMAL
COMAL ISD B 41 No 2005 2005 No 2009
057 DALLAS
CARROLLTON-FARMERS BRANCH ISD A 47 2013 2005 2005 No 2010
DALLAS ISD A 44 2007 No 2007 2009 2013
IRVING ISD A 43 2012 2006 2006 2013 No
COPPELL ISD B 41 2011 2006 2011 No 2011
DUNCANVILLE ISD B 38 No 2012 2008 2015 2007
RICHARDSON ISD B 36 No 2013 2013 2012 2006
MESQUITE ISD D 22 2014 No 2014 No 2010
GRAND PRAIRIE ISD D 21 2012 No No 2014 2013
GARLAND ISD F 10 No No No No 2010
061 DENTON
LEWISVILLE ISD A 47 2013 2005 2005 No 2010
DENTON ISD B 38 No 2006 2008 No 2008
NORTHWEST ISD B 38 No 2005 2005 2012 No
068 ECTOR
ECTOR COUNTY ISD D 20 2014 2006 No No No
071 EL PASO
EL PASO ISD B 42 2012 2013 2013 2011 2009
SOCORRO ISD C 30 No No 2008 2013 2009
CLINT ISD C 29 No 2011 2011 No 2009
YSLETA ISD D 20 2015 No No 2014 2011
079 FORT BEND
FORT BEND ISD C 32 2011 2011 2011 2015 No
LAMAR CISD F 7 No No 2013 No No
084 GALVESTON
CLEAR CREEK ISD B 41 No 2007 2007 2015 2010
094 GUADALUPE
SCHERTZ-CIBOLO-U CITY ISD A 43 No 2005 2004 No 2008
101 HARRIS
HUMBLE ISD B 39 2015 2006 2006 No 2014
HOUSTON ISD B 34 2012 No 2010 2011 2013
SPRING BRANCH ISD B 34 No 2006 2006 2014 No
KATY ISD C 30 2012 No 2012 2014 2012
ALDINE ISD C 29 No No 2004 No 2007
SPRING ISD C 26 No No 2006 2014 2014
GALENA PARK ISD C 26 No No 2006 No 2008
GOOSE CREEK CISD C 26 No 2007 2007 No No
KLEIN ISD D 24 No 2006 No No 2010
PASADENA ISD D 22 No No 2010 No 2008
CYPRESS-FAIRBANKS ISD D 21 2012 No No No 2007
ALIEF ISD D 18 No No 2015 No 2007
DEER PARK ISD F 16 No No 2013 No 2011
TOMBALL ISD F 8 No No No No 2012
105 HAYS
HAYS CISD A 43 2011 2011 2011 2012 2012
108 HIDALGO
MCALLEN ISD A 47 2014 2005 2004 No 2010
EDINBURG CISD C 33 2012 2006 No No 2009
WESLACO ISD C 31 2015 2011 2011 No 2012
PHARR-SAN JUAN-ALAMO ISD D 20 2015 No 2014 No 2011
DONNA ISD D 20 No No 2009 No 2011
MISSION CISD F 17 No 2010 No No 2013
LA JOYA ISD F 13 No No No No 2007
IDEA PUBLIC SCHOOLS F 9 No No 2011 No No
123 JEFFERSON
BEAUMONT ISD C 27 2011 No 2010 No 2012
152 LUBBOCK
LUBBOCK ISD C 28 2013 2010 2009 No No
159 MAVERICK
EAGLE PASS ISD F 12 No 2014 2014 No No
161 MCLENNAN
WACO ISD C 31 2010 No 2008 No 2011
165 MIDLAND
MIDLAND ISD F 16 No No 2004 No No
170 MONTGOMERY
MAGNOLIA ISD B 34 No 2008 2008 No 2010
CONROE ISD C 27 2011 No 2011 No 2011
NEW CANEY ISD D 24 No 2008 2008 No No
178 NUECES
CORPUS CHRISTI ISD B 37 2014 2011 2007 No 2011
188 POTTER
AMARILLO ISD D 18 No No 2011 No 2011
199 ROCKWALL
ROCKWALL ISD C 29 2012 No 2010 No 2009
212 SMITH
TYLER ISD A 46 2015 2005 2005 No 2009
214 STARR
RIO GRANDE CITY CISD D 24 2014 No 2009 No 2013
220 TARRANT
KELLER ISD A 51 2011 2006 2008 2015 2009
ARLINGTON ISD A 50 2008 2004 2007 No 2011
HURST-EULESS-BEDFORD ISD A 45 No 2007 2007 2011 2010
GRAPEVINE-COLLEYVILLE ISD B 40 2014 2010 2010 2015 2011
MANSFIELD ISD C 27 2011 2011 2011 No No
FORT WORTH ISD D 18 2010 No No 2012 No
BIRDVILLE ISD F 16 No No No 2015 2009
EAGLE MT-SAGINAW ISD F 16 No No 2010 2014 No
CROWLEY ISD F 16 No No 2013 No 2011
221 TAYLOR
ABILENE ISD C 30 No 2005 2005 No No
TEXAS COLLEGE PREPARATORY ACADEMIE D 18 No No 2008 No 2014
226 TOM GREEN
SAN ANGELO ISD B 36 2015 2005 2004 No 2008
227 TRAVIS
AUSTIN ISD A 47 2013 2010 2010 2011 2009
PFLUGERVILLE ISD B 35 No 2008 2006 No 2011
DEL VALLE ISD F 12 No No 2008 No No
235 VICTORIA
VICTORIA ISD F 7 No No 2013 No No
240 WEBB
LAREDO ISD A 58 2004 2004 2004 No 2010
UNITED ISD F 12 No No No No 2008
243 WICHITA
WICHITA FALLS ISD F 12 2015 No 2013 No No
246 WILLIAMSON
ROUND ROCK ISD A 50 2010 2004 2004 No 2012
LEANDER ISD A 45 No 2006 2006 2013 2010

As always, please comments with any corrections or suggestions!

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