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What is Financial Transparency?
You pay for your government, and you deserve to know how it spends your money. That philosophy is gaining traction. State and federal governments are increasingly making financial transparency a priority, opting to make many records freely accessible, rather than leave the public waiting for information requests.
Transparency is a broad term that, quite literally, means something that can be seen through. When we talk about transparency in terms of government spending, we are referring to government opening its books to the public so that taxpayers can see exactly where their money is going. Transparency ensures that your taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently by making all decisions in the open and on the record. Transparency means that citizens can review and question policymakers’ decisions, examine documents, root out inefficiencies and hold officials accountable for the way tax dollars are spent.
In the 'Texas Transparency Check-Up' initiative, they're tracking just how transparent local governments, school districts and other entities across the state are with your hard-earned dollars. In the state's determination, a government entity is meeting a high standard for transparency if it:
Technology (and the Web in particular) has changed the expectations for customer service and government transparency at all levels. In a computer- and Internet-based society, government can no longer justify the money and time required to print reports. Publishing information online means no postage, no waiting for the mail, up-to-date documents and worldwide accessibility. By demystifying state spending and providing easy access to those numbers we ensure greater accountability to the public. As the window on Texas state government (Public School Systems), our office cannot have the blinds pulled down.
- Opens its books to the public, providing clear, consistent pictures of spending
- Provides information in an easily accessible, user-friendly format
- Lets taxpayers easily drill down for more detailed information
- On the Texas Transparency Check-up, the Comptroller’s office checked to see to what extent local government entities provided online access to their budgets, financial reports and check registers, as defined below:
- Budget: Proposed spending and revenue, typically for a one-year period, shown in broad categories by office/department and by account type, such as salary, transportation or supplies. A more detailed budget may show data by month. A budget serves as the financial plan for the city, county or governing body.
- Financial Report: A comparison of budgeted to actual expenses and revenues, typically for a one-year period, shown in the same broad categories and account types as Budget. Monthly financial or treasurer's reports are typical shown in summary only. A financial report demonstrates how well the city, county or governing body managed within the proposed budget and plan.
- Check Register: Listing of line item expenses typically showing date, amount, to whom payment was made, account type, and purchase order number where applicable. Some check registers are searchable by vendor name and/or account type.
"Veribest ISD Financial Transparency Data": Adopted Budget – The budget must be the official adopted budget for the current fiscal year. It must show proposed annual revenues and expenditures by major funds within broad categories of program, function, and/or department:
Veribest ISD Budget Process (Narrative) – Veribest ISD’s budgeting process starts during the Spring semester. The campus principals are given a budget worksheet with the amounts budgeted for the previous year. The principals will meet with the staff and discuss and prioritize the needs for the upcoming year. The principals will then compile a working budget and present it to the superintendent. The superintendent and business manager will then produce a master budget; the outcome of the master budget will determine the amount that will need to be reduced or increased from the previous year’s budget. Veribest ISD diligently works to maintain a master budget where the revenue exceeds the expenditures.
Veribest ISD receives revenue from three major areas:
The Veribest ISD Board of Trustees will conduct a public hearing on the annual budget and tax rate each August. The date, time and location of this hearing will be posted a minimum of (72) hours prior to the hearing at the Administration Building located at 10062 FM 380, Veribest, Texas.
- State Funds - 53%
- Local Funds - 44%
- Federal Funds - 3%
2014-2015:Adopted Budget Worksheet * Budget for General Fund, Food Service, and Debt Service
Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas – The Financial Accountability Rating System of Texas (FIRST) is administered by the Texas Education Agency and calculated on information submitted to TEA via the district's Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) submission each year. The Schools FIRST accountability rating system assigns one of four financial accountability ratings to Texas school districts, with the highest being “Superior Achievement,” followed by “Above-Standard Achievement,” “Standard Achievement” and “Substandard Achievement.” For the fifth year in a row, the Veribest Independent School District has earned a rating of “Superior Achievement” with a score of 83 of 85 points on the 24 indicators:
2013-2014: Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas: Superior Achievement Annual Financial Report – The annual financial report (AFR) or comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) must represent the most recently audited fiscal year. To be current, the audit must be posted within 12 months of the end of the fiscal year: 2014 Audited Fiscal Year: Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
(CAFR) - (2014 Draft) Check Register – The current check register must show date, payee and amount for all expenses. Some banks suggest allowing checks to age 90 days before posting online, but check registers older than 120 days will not be considered current: 2011-2012: Ordinance Setting Tax Rate Statement * Adobe Reader needed to view the 'Check Register' and (CAFR) reports. See footer below for downloads. Supplemental Information Links:
- Taxpayer's Transparency Tips: How you can track your tax dollars
- Transparency Steps and Tools
- 'TexasAhead' State Comptroller's Website
- Texas Public Information Act - Government Code Chapter 552
- Local Public Information Contact: For all public information requests, please send requests, in writing to:
10062 FM Hwy 380, P.O. Box 490
Veribest, TX. 76886
Attn: Superintendent, Information Request
(email) - Bobby Fryar, Superintendent of Veribest Schools
(phone) - 325.655.4912
- Veribest School Board Members - Contact Information:
- Local County and State Officials - Contact Information:
- Mayor: (email) - Dwain Morrison, (phone) - 325-716-9097
- Precinct 1 County Commissioner: (email) - Ralph Hoelscher, (phone) - 325.659.6511
- County Judge: (email) - Steve Floyd, (phone) - 325.653.3318
- County Attorney: (email) - Chris Taylor, (phone) - 325.659.6562
- County Sheriff: (email) - David Jones, (phone) - 325.655.8111
- Justice of the Peace: (email) - Kay Longest, (phone) - 325.659.6444
- Treasurer: (email) - Dianna Spieker, (phone) - 325.659.6520
- Tax Assessor: (email) - Becky Robles, (phone) - 325.658.5575
- Constable: (email) - Roy Balderaz, (phone) - 325.659.6442
- County Clerk: (email) - Elizabeth McGill, (phone) - 325.659.6511
- Texas State Representative House District 72: (email) - Drew Darby, (phone) - 512.463.0331
- Texas State Board of Education District 15: (email) - Marty Rowley, (phone) - 806.744.3232
- Texas State Senator, District 28: (email) - Robert Duncan, (phone) - 512.463.0128
- Texas U.S. Representative, District 11: (email) - Mike Conaway, (phone) - 202.225.3605
- Texas U.S. Senators: (email) - John Cornyn, (phone) - 202.224.2934
(email) - Ted Cruz, (phone) - 202.224.5922
P.O. Box 490,
10062 F.M. Hwy.
Veribest, TX. 76886