FIRST Public Hearing

by Coy Holcombe.  

Tonight the EISD Board is holding a public hearing (6:45 PM in the HS library) to discuss the district’s rating on the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). The objective of FIRST is to give people an idea of the financial condition of the district. Basically, FIRST is made up of 24 questions about the district’s financial state. The answers are based upon the financial audit submitted to the Texas Education Agency by our outside auditors. Because FIRST is based on our auditor’s report to TEA, the current rating is based on the findings of the 06-07 school year. For the 06-07 school year, EISD achieved the rating of “Superior Achievement”. This is the highest rating that a district may receive.

The first six questions are yes or no questions: either the district achieved the objective or it did not. If a district receives a “No” response on any of the first four questions, then the district automatically receives a rating of “Substandard Achievement”. If a district receives a “No” response to questions 5 and 6, then that district also automatically receives a rating of “Substandard Achievement”.  EISD received “Yes” responses to the first six questions.

Question 7 deals with the district’s accountability rating.  A district cannot receive a rating of “Superior Achievement” if the district’s accountability rating is “Academically Unacceptable”. The next seventeen questions are based on a five point scale. Five points are awarded for achieving at level specified in FIRST, 4 points are awarded for achieving at just below the specified level, etc. In this section, there is a possibility of scoring 85 points (this would be a perfect score). Out of 85 possible points, EISD earned 82.

Special thanks go out to business manager Carol Warren for all of her hard work and dedication in working to make sure that our financial records are up-to-date and accurate. Also, special recognition needs to go to our payroll clerk, Debbie Meyners, our accounts payable clerk, Kara Weaver, our tax collector, Debbie Myers, and our PEIMS coordinator, Karen Thompson. All of these professionals had a major role in EISD achieving the “Superior Achievement” rating. Finally, a very special recognition needs to go to the men and women on the EISD Board of Trustees. They provide the district with the leadership and decision making necessary for such achievements.

Off to a Great Start

by Coy Holcombe.  

EISD is off to a great start this year. All campuses are reporting smooth starts and lots of excitement from staff members and students. I want to utilize some of our newest technology, the Moodle Page, to provide all interested parties with more information about EISD. On some occasions, I will be updating readers with information and happenings in the district. On other occasions, I want to provide explanations and examples of how and why our district functions in the way it does. Most of all, I want to answer any questions that you may have. If there is a particular topic that you would like to know more about, please email me at

I want to talk today about our enrollment and the difference between enrollment and attendance. Starting this school year, we were a little concerned about what our enrollment would be. Last year, we had a steady drop in enrollment. We started out with about 1570 students and ended the year with about 1520 students. While we always have some fluctuation in our enrollment, this was the first time in many years that we had seen such a drastic decline in our enrollment. In talking with parents/guardians of students that were leaving, almost all cited the rising cost of fuel as the major factor: they were relocating to be closer to their jobs.

On the first day of classes, our reported enrollment was about 1460 students. Throughout the first few days, we continued to gain students. As of yesterday, September 9, our enrollment had climbed to 1512 students. By campus, our current enrollment looks like this: Primary School – 437, Intermediate School – 306, Middle School – 308, and High School – 461. While the number enrolled in a district is important, it is not used in calculating any state funding. State funding is based on our average daily attendance (ADA).

The difference between enrollment and average daily attendance is important. Enrollment is the number of students actually enrolled in the district at a given time. The ADA is the total number of days students are in attendance divided by the total number of days in an attendance period. For example if we had a grade level that had 100 students and there were 30 days in a six weeks period, the total number of days of membership would be 100 x 30 or 3,000. Let’s say that we had perfect attendance in this grade level for the entire six weeks. We would have 3,000 days of attendance. We would then divide this number by the number of days in the attendance period 3,000 ÷ 30 = 100.  So, we would have an ADA of 100 for this grade level. Now, suppose we had the same grade level and that each student missed one day of school during the 30 day six week period. To calculate our ADA we would have to take the number of days of membership (3,000) subtract the days absent (100) and then divide by the number of days in the attendance period (30). 3000 – 100 = 2900 ÷ 30 = 96.67. So, our ADA for this grade level would be 96.67. There are other adjustments that might have to be made; however, these are not common adjustments except for students in the pre-kindergarten classes.

Why is ADA so important to a school district? First, our attendance percentage is part of our overall accountability ratings. Each campus has its own attendance rate and the district has an overall attendance rate. For EISD, our current attendance rate is about 96.3%. This is a very good attendance rate.  A larger enrollment would not do us any good if our ADA was 90%. Second, our ADA is used as the major number in state funding. Our ADA is always less than our enrollment because we have students absent every day. As a rough estimate, if our enrollment is 1520 and we have a 96.2% attendance rate, then we can expect to have an ADA around 1462. (Note: There are several other factors involved in calculating ADA and this is not how we calculate ADA for the year or for any six weeks. This example is only for demonstration purposes.)

This year’s budget was built on an estimated ADA of 1443. For each ADA, the district receives about $3,614. The district also receives other funding that is directly or indirectly tied to our ADA: compensatory funding is based on the number of free and reduced lunch students, special education funding is based on the number of students receiving special education services, career and technology funding is based on the number of students enrolled in career and technology classes, and our bilingual/ESL funding is based on the number of students served in our ESL program. There are several other funding areas and other funding factors, but the main driving force is the number of students and the days that they are in attendance.

The difference between enrollment and ADA can be confusing. Funding for our schools is complicated. One of my goals of this blog is to offer explanations and examples that will make it easier to understand how our schools are funded.   If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.


by Coy Holcombe.  

If you have visited our website lately, you have probably noticed the new link to PaySchools on the left-hand side of the homepage. EISD has contracted with PaySchools to provide opportunities for our patrons to purchase goods and services over the Internet. PaySchools is operated by the Iowa Association of School Boards and has expanded its services to other states in recent years. Purchases may be made with a credit card or with an e-check. An e-check will ask you input the account number and routing number for your checking account. The purchase amount will be deducted from your checking account.

When you visit this site, you have a choice to choose the campus from which you want to purchase goods or services. Each campus chooses what products or services to list on PaySchools. Some of the categories currently available to purchase online include: yearbooks, fees and dues to organizations, fines for library books and/or textbooks, and parking passes. In addition, you may add money to your child’s cafeteria account at any campus in the district through PaySchools.

There is also a category for the district. In this category, users can pay transfer fees on approved transfers and pay their school property taxes.  We are asking anyone that chooses to pay their property taxes online to make sure that they include their account number in the comments section. This will allow the district to make sure that we credit the correct account.

There was no upfront cost for EISD to join PaySchools. Instead, EISD is charged 3.5% of the total monthly amount of revenue generated through PaySchools. For example, if we had $1000 of products purchased in a month, PaySchools will deduct 3.5% of that amount for their fees. That would mean that EISD would be charged $35 for that month. To offset these charges, there are convenience fees associated with the use of PaySchools. The convenience fees depend on the amount of purchase and are listed below:

$0 – $20.00 – Convenience Charge = $.70

$20.01 – $50.00 – Convenience Charge = $1.75

$50.01 – $100 – Convenience Charge = $3.50

$100.01 – $150 – Convenience Charge = $5.25

$150 .01 – $200 – Convenience Charge = $7.00

$200 + – Convenience Charge = $10.00


The purpose of the convenience fees is not to generate money for EISD. The only reason the convenience fees are added is to offset the charges associated with using PaySchools.

If you have any suggestions on other goods or services to place on the PaySchools site, please email me at Our goal is to provide the most services possible for our patrons.

Special Thanks

by Coy Holcombe.  

A really special thank you goes out to KCKL and its listeners for the box of school supplies donated to EISD. The box contained dozens of pens and pencils, paper, glue, backpacks, folders, crayons, markers, and scissors. Also, a very special thank you goes out to Tiffany Lilly and State Farm Insurance for donating a $100 gift card to Wal-Mart to be used for our students. EISD greatly appreciates the thoughtfulness of these donations.