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CHISD Presents Efficiency Audit Results

Cedar Hill Independent School District Chief Financial Officer Carla Settle presented the results of the Efficiency Audit during a September CHISD Board of Trustee Meeting.

“CHISD is encouraged by the findings of the Efficiency Audit, which highlights fiscal responsibility in the district and provides further guidance on how the district can continue to meet its scholars’ needs,” Settle said.

CHISD received a Superior Achievement (‘A’ Rating) in the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) for the second time in four years. In 2018, 2020 and 2021, CHISD received a ‘B’ rating.

The purpose of the Efficiency Audit is to assess the District’s fiscal management, efficiency and utilization of resources and whether the District has implemented best practices utilized by Texas school districts before an election to adopt a Maintenance and Operations (M&O) property tax rate. 

In 2019, the Texas Legislature approved House Bill 3, which requires school districts to undergo an efficiency report ahead of holding a Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE). This requirement was waived last year due to Winter Storm Uri, but CHISD still decided to go ahead and do the Efficiency Audit. 

The Efficiency Audit was conducted by Whitley Penn LLP, a Fort Worth-based Audit, Assurance, Tax and Consulting Services Company.

The Audit used “peer districts” – as established by Texas Smart Schools and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to provide context.

The Audit found that CHISD has $10, 318 in total expenditures per student (including General Fund and Special Revenue Funds, including Child Nutrition) and that the district spends 56.7 percent of its budget on instruction (higher than the 54.3 percent spent by peer districts).

The District’s total operating revenue for all funds for Fiscal Year 2021 totaled $10,250 per student, while the peer districts average $11,530 and the state average is $11,505 per student.

The District’s Attendance Rate is 98 percent, only slightly below the State Average of 98.3 percent. The 2019-2020 attendance rate increased significantly from just a few years earlier.

The District’s turnover rate is 3.3 percent, compared to peer district’s 9.5 percent turnover rate.

The Audit also confirmed that CHISD has:

  •     Has a District Improvement Plan annually (DIP)
  •     All campuses have Campus Improvement Plan annually
  •     Has active and current facilities Master Plan (enrollment projections, analyze facility capacity, facility condition).
  •     Has an Energy management plan.
  •     Has a Staffing formula for maintenance, custodial, food service and transportation.
  •     Has a Teacher mentoring program.
  •     Establishes  programs based on research.
  •     Monitors use of curriculum and instruction.
  •     Plans staff development, modify programs based on test results.