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Forney ISD Earns an ‘A’ Rating for ‘Superior Achievement’ in Texas Education Agency’s Financial Integrity Rating System in Texas

The Forney Independent School District (ISD) recently received notification that it has been awarded an ‘A’ rating for ‘Superior Achievement’ from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for the Financial Integrity Rating System in Texas, (FIRST). The Superior rating is the highest rating possible in the FIRST program meaning that Forney ISD has exceeded all expectations regarding the district’s finances. 

Forney ISD has received a Superior rating every year since 2016, and received a perfect 100 this year, the maximum number of points that can be awarded to a school district.

“This is another incredible accomplishment for the Forney ISD Board of Trustees and the administration team with Forney ISD,” said Forney ISD Superintendent Dr. Justin Terry. “The Board of Trustees have made it a top priority to pay close attention to the financial details of the District. The board receives and reviews financial updates monthly and are made aware of every expenditure incurred by the District. Their attention to such details have helped the District earn this outstanding achievement!”

FIRST is the State of Texas school financial accountability rating system that ensures that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve those practices. The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.

In addition to the Superior FIRST Rating, the District also received their annual audit report from the District external auditors, the accounting firm Hankins, Eastup, Deaton, Tonn & Seay. The firm’s report states that Forney ISD received an “unmodified” opinion on the accuracy of the District’s financial information. An unmodified opinion means the information presented in the District’s Annual Financial Report is fairly stated in all material respects.

In order for Forney ISD to receive the maximum amount of points in the FIRST rating, the District is required to have cash on hand in the General Fund at least equal to 90 days of operating expenditures. In the District’s 2020 audit report, the District  also indicated that the unassigned fund balance in the General Fund on June 30, 2020 was $40.7 million, which represents more than four months of operating expenses. The board’s stated goal is to have at least two months of operating expenses in the General Fund balance.

“For the last five years we’ve received an ‘A’ FIRST rating,” Forney ISD Chief Financial Officer John Chase said. “In addition our bonds have received an A+ rating.”