Hutto ISD Earns State’s Highest Fiscal Accountability Rating for 8th Straight Year
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023
HUTTO, Texas — For the eighth year in a row, Hutto ISD has received an “A” rating for “Superior Achievement” from the Texas Education Agency’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). The rating system measures the quality of school district financial management and reporting systems.
The “A” rating is the highest possible score a school district can receive, and Hutto ISD has received a Superior Achievement rating every year since 2015. The legislative-mandated financial accountability ratings for 2022-23 are calculated based upon the financial data provided from the 2021-22 school year and are calculated using 15 established financial indicators including operating expenditures for instruction, tax collection rates, student-teacher ratios, and long-term debt.
The financial report is graded on a 100-point scale. Hutto ISD scored a 96 out of a possible 100. That marks the eighth consecutive year the school district has received the highest score, according to Hutto ISD’s Chief Financial Officer Caleb Steed.
“This achievement is a direct reflection of the exceptional work of the Hutto ISD Financial Services Department, our elected Board of Trustees, and dedicated employees in making sure local taxpayer dollars, state funds and federal dollars are not only judiciously spent, but managed in a fiscally prudent manner,” said Steed. “While we are accustomed to taking great care in managing the District’s finances, this prestigious honor becomes more challenging each year as operational funds continue to shrink.
“I want to once again recognize the outstanding efforts of our department on a daily basis, the oversight of the school board, and our employees who demonstrate their willingness to maximize every dollar to make sure that our students have the best opportunities to succeed.”
This is the 21st year of School FIRST, a financial accountability system for Texas school districts and charters developed by the TEA in response to Senate Bill 875 of the 76th Texas Legislature in 1999 and amendments under House Bill 5, 83rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2013. The primary goal of 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.
School districts in Texas are graded on a four-letter-grade basis with “A” or “Superior Achievement” being the highest. A “B” or “Above-Standard Achievement” follows, then “C” for “Standard Achievement,” and finally “F” for “Substandard Achievement.”
“This rating yet again shows the exceptional job done by our Financial Services Department to ensure our finances are well managed. This work has become even more difficult as our operational expenses increase while the per pupil allotment remains stagnant,” Hutto ISD Superintendent Dr. Raúl Peña said. “Our dedicated Board of Trustees also continues to be financially responsible and good stewards of our tax dollars as we face the challenges of rising enrollment and an ever-evolving system of accountability by state leaders.”
“We’re thankful for the trust our community places in us, and your trustees will continue to manage our funds conservatively while managing our fast growth,” said Board President Billie Logiudice. “This rating shows that our district is making the most of our taxpayers’ dollars, and further proves that Hutto’s public schools are accountable not only for student learning, but also for achieving these results cost-effectively and efficiently.”
To review FIRST ratings for all school districts and charters, please visit https://tealprod.tea.state.tx.us/First/forms/Main.aspx.