What is FIRST?
FIRST, a financial accountability system for Texas school districts, was developed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in response to Senate Bill 875 of the 76th Texas Legislature in 1999. The primary goal of Schools FIRST is to achieve quality performance in the management of school districts’ financial resources, a goal made more significant due to the complexity of accounting associated with Texas’ school finance system.
The Schools FIRST accountability rating system assigns one of four financial accountability ratings to Texas school districts, with the highest being “Superior Achievement,” followed by “Above-Standard Achievement,” “Standard Achievement” and “Substandard Achievement.” Districts with serious data quality problems may receive the additional rating of “Suspended—Data Quality.” Districts that receive the “Substandard Achievement” or “Suspended—Data Quality” ratings under Schools FIRST must file a corrective action plan with Texas Education Agency (TEA).
The District is required to distribute the FIRST report and the board of trustees is required to hold a public hearing on the report at a district facility.