It is sometimes argued that school districts are charged with the responsibility of taking care of a community’s two most prized possessions: their children and their money. Every opportunity I have, I enjoy talking about all the meaningful things we do for our students to protect and educate them. However, I wanted to brag on Alief ISD for a long history of wise financial management and to share with you some of the financial accountability awards the district has won.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded Alief ISD a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2013. In addition, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting to the Alief Independent School District for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2013. This marks the 26th consecutive year that Alief ISD has earned this award.

In order to be awarded a Certificate of Achievement, a government unit must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized CAFR, whose contents conform to program standards. The reports must satisfy accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America and applicable legal requirements. In Texas, only 5% of the school districts participate in these award programs.

Alief also received the GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award and the ASBO’s Meritorious Budget Award for its annual budget document for 2013-14. In order to qualify for these budget awards, the budget document was judged to be proficient in several categories as specified by both organizations. We are in elite company as only 2% of the school districts in Texas participate in these programs.

The Comptroller of Public Accounts launched the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle program in December 2009 to recognize local governments across Texas that are striving to meet a high standard for financial transparency by posting the annual budget, the annual financial report, and the check register online to provide a clear and consistent picture of spending to the public. I am very proud to tell you that Alief ISD earned a Platinum Leadership Circle Award in 2014. Alief ISD had been practicing the recommended procedures long before the program was implemented and has received the highest level award for five years.

In addition, Alief ISD has received a rating of “Superior Achievement” from the Texas Education Agency for the Financial Integrity Rating System (FIRST) since the system was implemented 12 years ago. Schools FIRST is a financial accountability system for Texas school districts to assess the quality of financial management.

As you can see, we take a lot of pride in maintaining excellent financial integrity in Alief ISD. I want to thank Deanna Wentz, assistant superintendent for accounting services; Grace Chang, controller; and Karla Kessler, director of federal funds for managing the Alief ISD taxpayers’ money wisely.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the Alief Independent School District by serving as a Key Communicator. Please let me know if there are any topics that you would like to have addressed in future messages.

HD Chambers