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MISD Earns State’s Highest Financial Rating for 18th Consecutive Year

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Jason Bird, McKinney ISD Deputy Superintendent of Business, Operations, Accountability and Technology at the August 25 meeting of the MISD Board of Trustees

Jason Bird, McKinney ISD Deputy Superintendent of Business, Operations, Accountability and Technology at the August 25 meeting of the MISD Board of Trustees

McKinney, Texas – McKinney ISD officials announced that the district received a rating of “Superior” under Texas’ Schools FIRST financial accountability rating system.

The Superior rating is the state’s highest mark, demonstrating the quality of MISD’s financial management and reporting system. This is the 18th consecutive year that the district has earned the highest possible FIRST rating.

In fact, only two points separated MISD’s total of 98 and a perfect score. While the structure for calculating scores can be complex, the state essentially awarded fewer points to MISD for using an accelerated 20-year debt payment structure—which provides substantial interest savings in the long term—rather than a 30+ year approach to debt payment structure.

Jason Bird, MISD Deputy Superintendent of Business, Operations, Accountability and Technology, remained unwavering in his philosophy toward debt reduction, “MISD will continue to use 20-year vs. the 30+ year maximum bond maturities employed by other districts,” he said, “even if the rating system awards lower points for such fiscal prudence.”

The FIRST rating is one of several accolades that the district has consistently earned for outstanding financial accountability, including the Comptroller’s Platinum Leadership Circle and Transparency Star and the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

The primary goal of Schools 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.

Schools FIRST assigns one of four financial accountability ratings to Texas school districts: Superior, Above Standard, Meets Standard and Substandard Achievement. Ratings are determined by an examination of a school district’s performance in 15 areas that include items such as fund balance, debt payments, the annual financial report, student to teacher ratios and administrative cost ratios.

“I am very proud of our FIRST rating,” said MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel. “And, I am grateful for the financial stability that we enjoy in McKinney ISD. It obviously is the work of the tremendously talented people in our business department, along with our Chief Financial Officer Marlene Harbeson and our Deputy Superintendent of Business, Operations, Accountability and Technology Jason Bird. The work they do is highly valuable and deeply appreciated.”

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