Manor ISD fails TEA financial accountability rating

Manor ISD (KXAN Photo)
Manor ISD (KXAN Photo)

MANOR, Texas (KXAN) — The Texas Education Association released its final financial accountability ratings for 2015-2016. The Manor Independent School District was the only Central Texas district to fail.

More than 1,200 school districts and charter schools were rated, and 97 percent of them passed.

The TEA looks at 15 different categories when coming up with a financial rating and score. Regardless of what score you get, there are five indicators that result in an automatic ‘F.’ The indicators are submitting the district’s financial report to the TEA within 30 days of their deadline, making timely payments to government agencies like the IRS and Teachers Retirement System, in compliance with payment terms of all debt agreements, getting an unmodified opinion on overall financial statements and unrestricted net asset balance in governmental activities column greater than zero. Manor ISD passed the last indicator, but failed the four others.

“We did not receive a passing score on FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) because of one simple fact, and that is our external auditors at the time did not feel comfortable completing our annual financial report with the pending investigations that were ongoing,” said Jennifer Land, chief financial officer for Manor ISD.

A failing financial grade could affect Manor ISD’s accreditation. The TEA looks at a combination of things, including academic ratings, which come out later this fall. Districts are expected to get their accreditation score in February.

The Manor police department is still investigating the school district to determine if any criminal charges should be filed. An audit revealed astronomical spending and overpaying of district employees. One example is Manor High School’s color guard program. The director also doubled as the business office’s executive director. The color guard budget for 18 participants was $92,000. That is compared to the cheerleading budget, which was $15,000 for 30 participants.

The other three school districts that failed the School FIRST is Beaumont ISD, Ector County ISD and New Summerfield ISD.

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