2008 Awards

2008 What Parents Want Award 

The HEB ISD has once again been named in the top 16 percent of more than 15,000 school systems nationwide as a recipient of the 2008 national SchoolMatch What Parents Want Award.

An outstanding curriculum, academic test scores, class size and an above average expenditure on pupil instruction are the criteria for this prestigious award. HEB ISD won this award in 1992 and again every year from 1994 through 2008, for providing what parents want in a school district.

SchoolMatch, an independent, nationwide service, helps corporate employee families find schools that match the needs of their children. SchoolMatch also has conducted more than 1,000 Educational Effectiveness Audits of school systems throughout the country and assists corporations with site selection studies.

SchoolMatch selected school districts to receive the award based on the results of more than 95,000 parent questionnaires completed by SchoolMatch clients.

More than seven million parents accessed SchoolMatch services through a variety of website locations including national, regional, and local real estate firms, various multiple listing services, chambers of commerce, economic development offices, and other family oriented sites, as well as by personnally contacting SchoolMatch's Columbus (OH) office.

Corporations and consumers use SchoolMatch when moving across town, upgrading residences, relocating to a new area, when negotiating child custody issues and for general information about schools.

SchoolMatch maintains information on every public school system throughout the nation. The service is offered as an employee benefit by about 600 companies, including Office Depot, Ernst & Young, Hewlett Packard, KPMG Peat Marwick, Nationwide Insurance, and Cinergy Corporation.


District Recognized for Music Education

The NAMM Foundation has named HEB ISD to the prestigious listing of "Best Communities for Music Education" for the second year in a row. Only 10 Texas school districts received this national honor, and this designation once again illustrates the academic "edge" that the HEB ISD provides its students.

"This is a wonderful tribute to the great teachers we have and to the support we get from administration, campus and community," Mark Chandler, director of Visual and Performing Arts, said of the award.

The 2008 roster of "Best Communities" includes school districts from 29 states that are committed to quality music education programs and providing access to music education. The districts were measured across a variety of program support, curricular and programmatic criteria.

Thousands of participants filled out an extensive survey of questions about funding, enrollment, student-teacher ratios, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, private music lesson participation, and other factors in their communities' music education program.

The responses were verified with school district officials, and the sponsoring organizations reviewed the data. Each school district was then scored, and the "Best Communities" districts were then selected for this year's roster.

The "Best Communities" survey was sponsored by the NAMM Foundation and a partnership of leading national associations working to promote the benefits of active participation in music and music education. NAMM is the association of the international music products industry.


District Receives Superior State Financial Rating

For the sixth year in a row, the District has received a "Superior" Rating in the state FIRST program, the financial accountability rating system. School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) reports public school district financial accountability ratings, as authorized by Senate Bill (SB) 218 of the 77th Legislature in 2001.

"Superior" is the highest possible in this assessment and reflects the District's low spending on administrative costs and its focus on instructional spending; low student-teacher ratios; and low ratios of students to total staff.

The rating was based on audit information from the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

The system requires the Texas Education Agency to review the audited financial reports from all districts and assign financial management ratings based on how the data conform to 24 established indicators.

Texas school districts are now required to prepare an annual financial management report that includes the district's financial management performance rating from TEA and the district's previous performance on the rating indicators. District staff presented the FIRST results at the October 21 board meeting.


In particular, the "Superior" rating reflects the District's low spending on administrative costs. State law sets a cap on the percentage of their budget that Texas school districts can spend on administration. The state compares administrative costs to instructional costs.

Question 18 on the list of state indicators examines whether the administrative cost ratio is less than the standard in TEA and state law. The state standard is 11.05 percent for administrative costs. The HEB ISD cost ratio was 6.69 percent.


Question 19 looks at whether the ratio of students to teachers is within state ranges. This indicator measures a school district's pupil-teacher ratio to ensure that it is within recommended ranges for districts of various student population ranges. For districts with more than 10,000 students, the ranges for ratios are: Low 13.5 - High 22.

As cited in the study, "HEB's ratio of students per teacher was 15.8 for fiscal year 2006-2007. Any ratio between 13.5 and 22 students per teacher meets the state standard."


Question 20 examines whether the ratio of students to total staff is within state ranges.
This indicator measures pupil-staff ratio to ensure that it is within TEA-recommended ranges for districts of various student population ranges. For districts with more than 10,000 students, the ranges for ratios are: Low 7 - High 14 students per staff member.

As cited in the study, "HEB's ratio of students to total staff was 8.4 for fiscal year 2006-2007. Any ratio between 7 and 14 students to total staff meets the state standard."


HEB ISD Named Top District in the State

Education Resource Group (ERG), a company that annually examines the student performance and operating efficiency of the 200 largest Texas public school districts, has named the HEB ISD the top school district in the state, based on state test data and financial audit information from the 2006-2007 school year.

ERG analyzes the 200 largest districts, which enroll the majority of students who attend Texas public schools. The ERG analysis measures the relationship between operating expenditures and student achievement. Based on their most recent analysis, HEB ISD was the only district in Texas to receive the highest honor.

HEB ISD was named what Education Resource Group designates as a "Best Practices" district. Superintendent Dr. Gene Buinger said this honor means the district is serving students, parents, and the greater HEB community.

"The combination of increasing student performance and low operating costs means that HEB ISD is giving parents and taxpayers the most bang for the buck," Buinger said.

ERG uses academic, demographic, staffing, and financial information to determine "Best Practices" districts. The academic information includes TAKS pass rate; graduation rates; SAT scores; and ACT scores.

The company uses financial data to measure operating costs in relation to student demographics. The financial data make adjustments for regional cost differences in Texas.

ERG uses an accountability matrix to determine school district rankings across the largest 200 districts. There are four levels in the Academic Performance Index and four levels in Operating Efficiency. Level One in each area results in the highest rankings.

While four other school districts achieved a Level One in academics and in finance, HEB ISD had the highest Level One score in the state, closest to the bottom left corner of the data chart (pdf).