Pearland ISD received an “A” rating from the state of Texas for its financial transparency. It’s the highest rating available to school districts, according to district documents.

Two-minute impact

The Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, also called FIRST, is issued by the Texas Education Agency, or TEA.

FIRST “ensures that Texas school districts are accountable not only for student learning but also for achieving these results cost effectively and efficiently,” according to a letter to the PISD board from Superintendent Larry Berger.

The rating is based on a number of factors, including:Out of a possible score of 100, the district scored a 92, according to district documents.

Diving in deeper

Districts receive an automatic total of 25 points, and Pearland ISD received an additional 67 points across eight scored categories, resulting in its rating of 92 out of 100 possible points.

PISD received 10 out of 10 possible points in several different categories, documents show.

The weakest point for the district was its assets measuring against its liabilities, which scored six out of 10, according to district documents. It also received a five out of five for posting required financial information to its website.

Other items—such as cash on hand, its general fund revenues against its expenditures and its administrative costs—were all scored 10 out of 10, according to district documents.

Other ratings didn’t have a score but were indicated using “yes” or “no,” documents show. If a district receives "no" in any of those categories, it fails automatically, regardless of the points earned. The district didn’t receive a “no” in any category. Those that received a “yes” included:
  • A deadline for submitting a financial report to TEA
  • Paying all debt agreements by the end of the fiscal year
  • Making timely payments to the teacher retirement system
What else?

For PISD’s fiscal year 2023-24 budget, the district is facing a potential shortfall of $12.7 million, which officials are hoping to close using a voter-approval tax rate election, or VATRE, in November.

If voters give the thumbs up, it will add about $11.2 million to the district’s budget. Officials have long said if it doesn’t pass, there may need to be programming cuts to close the gap.