2012-11-22 / Front Page

TEA study shows Lindale ISD is superior

Officials with the Lindale ISD have always felt their district is “superior,’’ and now they have some figures from the state to prove their point.

According to the recently released Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) report, the LISD received a rating of “superior achievement’’ for the fiscal year which ended Aug. 31, 2011, which is the most current audited financial data available to the Texas Education Agency.

Lindale ISD Superintendent Stan Surratt presented the findings to the district’s board of trustees during their regular monthly meeting Monday night (Nov. 12) in the administration building.

The superior rating is the state’s highest and “demonstrates the quality of the financial management and reporting system of the Lindale ISD,’’ according to information from the state.

Developed by the TEA in 1999, the “primary goal of the Schools FIRST is to achieve quality performance in the management of school districts’ financial resources, an goal made more significant due to the complexity of accounting associated with Texas’ school finance system.’’

“Our taxpayers should understand that we have tried to be fiscally conservative and will always be focused on spending money the right way,’’ Surratt said. “We have tremendous internal controls that allow us to be responsible with taxpayers’ money.’’

Surratt said this is the first year the LISD has received a perfect score in the FIRST ratings.

“This just shows that from the trustees, administration and people in the district who spend the money that it has been utilized in a superior manner,’’ said LISD Board Presi- dent “Red’’ Brown. “There’s nothing more important than handling (the taxpayer’s) money the right way.’’

Surratt believes that this superior state rating will be something taxpayers remember in the future.

“We hope we’ve built a trust factor with the public and that it shows we are good stewards with the taxpayer’s money,’’ he said.

The FIRST system assigns one of four financial accountability ratings to Texas school districts, with the highest being “Superior Achievement.’’ The rating system consists of 20 indicators with six of those having “yes’’ and “no’’ answers and the remaining 14 being scored on a range of points from 0-5.

The maximum score possible is 70, which is the score Lindale ISD attained.

A public hearing was on the meeting’s agenda but there were no public comments on the report.

During the hearing of patron’s portion of the meeting, Kona Riley, a dance studio owner from Mineola addressed the trustees about renting the Performing Arts Center for a recital in May.

The district’s policy for rental of the PAC covers two levels, with the first level being for those living in the LISD and the second for those living outside the district.

Ms. Riley was asking for Level One status since several of her students live in the LISD and following a consultation with Deputy Superintendent Jamie Holder and Ms. Riley, the board decided to allow her Level One status, which means she will be required to pay $325 per hour plus any administrative costs incurred.

Level Two status is $525 per hour, plus administrative costs.

OTHER BUSINESS

Trustees also heard reports from cross country coach Aaron Pape and volleyball coach Meaghan Koonce on their respective seasons.

Pape introduced several of his athletes to the board and praised the effort shown by all of the cross country members.

“This year we had 25 athletes in our cross country program and each one of them had a real good season after moving up to 4A,’’ he said.

Before the season began, it was determined by the UIL that cross country girls would be running 3.1 miles as compared to the 2.1 previously.

“We were supportive of that change and our girls stepped up and handled it very well,’’ he said.

He added that at the district meet, Lindale had 19 youngsters entered and brought home 13 medals. The varsity won District 16-4A this season and the junior varsity boys also won their district.

“Overall, we’ll be young next year but we are looking forward to it,’’ he said.

Koonce, who led her volleyball team to the District 16-4A title with a 10-0 record, also introduced several players in attendance.

“It was a great season and we received so much support and kind words from everyone,’’ she said. “Our players were super positive the entire season, they worked hard and met every challenge.’’

The Lady Eagles finished up with a 26-11 record.

Koonce also noted that 11 players were named to the allacademic team for District 16- 4A.

“We want to thank you for the manner in which you represent our school and district, especially in the academic area,’’ said Brown.

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