Taxpayers should rest assured that the Mineola Independent School District is in robust financial health, that its transactions are transparent, and that its ledgers are clean.
In essence, that is the finding of the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST), which functions under the auspices of the Texas Education Agency. MISD received a financial accountability rating of 100, the highest score available. This marks the 16th consecutive year for the district to receive a perfect score. The rating reflects the 2016-17 school year.
The school financial accountability rating system ensures that school districts are held to account for their financial management. The system encourages public schools to manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for instruction.
“We’re very pleased that we continue to have a strong financial rating,” said MISD Superintendent Kim Tunnell.
Assistant Superintendent of Business William Bjork “does a phenomenal job tracking the money, Tunnell said.
In compiling its ratings, FIRST relies on a number of indicators, according to Tunnell. One of those indicators is transparency. “Our checkbook register is posted for anyone from the public to see,” she noted.
Also, FIRST examines such things as whether the district spends within its means, maintains an adequate fund balance and does proper reporting.
“We hit all those indicators,” Tunnell said.
Aside from keeping the public trust, one practical benefit of achieving the highest rating from FIRST would be a high bond rating, which leads to a better interest rate on debt. The MISD, however, has no bonded indebtedness. A $38.5 million bond issue failed in November 2017. Had the bond issue passed, the district would have had an AAA+ bond rating, according to Tunnell.