School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) reports public school district financial accountability ratings, as authorized by Senate Bill (SB) 218 of the 77th Legislature in 2001.
The primary goals of School FIRST are to:
Efficiently assess the quality of financial management in Texas public schools
Measure and report the extent to which financial resources in Texas public schools assure the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes
Implement a rating system that fairly and equitably evaluates the quality of financial management decisions
Improve the management of school districts' financial resources
Increase financial accountability within Texas' public education system
Districts are rated on various performance metrics (called "indicators") relating to financial management.
School districts receive annual financial performance ratings under FIRST of Superior Achievement, Above Standard Achievement, Standard Achievement, and Substandard Achievement. The FIRST rating is one of the critical indicators in the financial risk assessment methodology that identifies districts for financial audit or review.