Financial ratings for school districts across Texas were recently released, and Duncanville ISD came out on top. For the ninth consecutive year, the district received the highest rating of “Superior Achievement” under the state’s School Financial Integrity Rating System (FIRST). Duncanville ISD also earned four out of five stars in the 2011 Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ FAST (Financial Allocation Study for Texas) rating report.
The School FIRST system holds districts accountable for the quality of their financial management practices. It also encourages Texas public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum funds possible for instruction. You can read Duncanville ISD’s full School FIRST report by clicking here (district # 057907).
The 2009 Texas Legislature mandated the Comptroller’s Office to create a method to fairly compare the state’s diverse school districts. When comparing district and campus spending, the FAST methodology groups districts and campuses into sets of “fiscal peers” that operate in similar cost environments, including factors such as regional wages, district size and student characteristics. Each district and campus is assigned a FAST rating of one to five stars, indicating its success in combining cost-effective spending with the achievement of measurable student academic progress. A five-star rating reflects the strongest relative progress combined with the lowest relative spending.
School FIRST and FAST are only two of the many financial recognitions the district has earned this year. In the spring of 2011, Duncanville ISD was ranked as the number one Texas school district in Best Financial Performance by the Education Resource Group, Inc. The ranking demonstrates the district’s prudent fiscal management. The Education Resource Group is an academic and financial performance management and analysis review organization that looks at the efficiency of school organizations. View the Education Resource Group Ratings for Best Financial Performance. In addition, the district was recently evaluated on its performance in Financial Transparency, and received a gold star from Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs. The Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle Program recognizes local governments across Texas that meet a high standard of online financial transparency.
Duncanville ISD’s 2011/12 fiscal year budget is $94.2 million, which includes a 10% district-wide departmental budget reduction of $415,000, as well as other cost saving initiatives like the implementation of a four-tier bus schedule ($190,000) and reduction of staffing positions through attrition ($150,000). The state legislature’s recent decision to cut approximately $4.4 billion from school funding means the district will need to use $7 million of Fund Balance to support the Board of Trustees 21 Century Learning Goals and to offset Duncanville ISD’s state imposed $5.1 million funding shortfall. “Fiscal planning over the past four years allowed Duncanville ISD to be one of only four North Texas school districts that did not need to lay off any staff this year,” commented Superintendent Alfred Ray. “These top ratings are evidence of the district’s prudence, and I am committed remaining fiscally responsible and dedicating as many taxpayer dollars as possible to the classroom.”