Each year, school districts are required to schedule a public meeting of their grade from the state’s financial integrity rating system – discussion of Sabine ISD’s ‘Substandard Achievement’ is set for Nov. 13.
The requisite meeting falls at 6:30 p.m. Monday, immediately before the SISD school board’s regularly-scheduled monthly session in the district’s board room.
“That’s required no matter what our rating is,” according to SISD Finance Director Kevin Yandell. “If we get an A, superior, like we have for all the years except for our current one, substandard, we have to post that we’re going to have a hearing. It’ll be at the very first, before the meeting itself is actually called into order.”
The substandard rating was sparked by a ‘Qualified Opinion’ issued by the district’s auditor in November 2016. According to previous statements by Longview CPA Karen Jacks, that assessment stemmed from a board member’s failure to submit requisite information tied to the annual audit.
In past meetings, SISD trustee Rusty Taylor confirmed he did not pass on information requested by Jacks after, he said, the local auditor declined to fully-cooperate with a forensic auditor who was investigating various allegations of wrongdoing at the school.
It’s the first time the district has missed the top score from the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas in the 15 years it’s been in place.
According to FIRST guidelines set by the Texas Education Agency, missing any one of five key indicators will result in a Substandard Achievement label. Among those, an ‘Unmodified Opinion’ on the annual audit is a necessity.