HCDE commended for superior online financial transparency from Texas Comptroller

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January 24, 2018 by HCDE Communications

Jan. 24, 2018 – Harris County Department of Education has received three commendations from the Texas Comptroller for its commitment to easy, online access to HCDE financial data. The transparency awards were announced at the HCDE Board of Trustees Public Hearing on Jan. 24 regarding findings of the HCDE Annual Financial Management Report.

The recognitions are part of the department’s ongoing efforts to provide open and honest communication with Harris County taxpayers and other community stakeholders through online, financial transparency processes.

“Our board and administration believe that in order to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, we must provide an open, unfiltered window into our organization,” said Board President Louis Evans. “Financial transparency is just one example of this.”

According to a report from the Texas Comptroller Office, HCDE is one of two of the 1,350 “special districts” throughout the state to earn three fiscal “Transparency Stars” commendation awards.

Specifically, the awards from Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar commend HCDE for transparency in the areas of debt obligation, contracts and procurement, and traditional finances. Those goals are achieved through HCDE’s website on a visually enhanced financial transparency page at www.hcde-texas.org/transparency . The page offers visual and narrative detail on finances, including outstanding debt obligations; spending and revenue information; and accountability and transparency for contracting activities.

The Texas Comptroller Office launched its program called “Transparency Stars” in March 2016 to recognize cities, counties, school districts and special-purpose districts which make important strides toward greater government transparency. After achieving a base level of transparency, districts can apply to gain accreditation for five additional areas. HCDE achieved all of those applicable transparency categories.

Also Wednesday, Whitley Penn shared the results of the 2016-2017 Annual Financial Audit of HCDE. The department received the highest possible rating of “unmodified opinion” of HCDE’s financial statements.

For more information about HCDE’s financial management, visit www.hcde-texas.org/transparency .

Photo: (left) Harris County Department of Education Purchasing Assistant Director Kendra Jackson; HCDE Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Jesus Amezcua; and HCDE Business Services Chief Accounting Officer Rosa Maria Torres display three transparency awards from the Texas Comptroller Office. HCDE continues to prioritize its ongoing efforts to provide open and honest communication with Harris County taxpayers and other community stakeholders through online, financial transparency processes.

About Harris County Department of Education: HCDE provides special education, therapy services, early education, adult education and after-school programming. Services are funded by government grants, fees and a local property tax rate of $.005195. For every dollar in local property tax collected, HCDE provides $4.40 in services to the 25 Harris County school districts. HCDE also operates four campuses for students with profound special education needs and adjudicated youth who require a low student-teacher ratio and highly structured environment. One-hundred percent of students served on HCDE campuses are at-risk. The organization is governed by an elected board of seven trustees and has 1,060 employees and 33 facilities, including 15 Head Start centers. More info at www.hcde-texas.org .

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