TEA News Releases Online
July 13, 2012
Bond Program wins 2012 Best of Texas award
AUSTIN – A newly designed, automated application system that facilitates the flow of information between school districts, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Municipal Advisory Council won the Best of Texas award this week from the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Foundation School Program’s Bond Program application system was recognized as the "best IT collaboration among organizations" at the Government Technology Conference (GTC).
The new Bond Program web application automates two critical components of Texas’ public education funding system that finances almost $1 billion annually for school district construction projects. The improved system now provides prompt, accurate payments, improved reporting to school districts, on-demand ledger access and a detailed audit trail.
Launched last December, the new system not only streamlined the process for both agencies, but it also benefits school districts. The new system can swiftly and reliably calculate and send payment allotments so school districts have funds for their crucial and time-sensitive bond payments. It is also vital for audit purposes, ensuring that the payments are made from the appropriate pool of funds. In addition, the new system reduces data entry requirements by about 40 percent, significantly minimizing the reporting burden on school districts.
Prior to the creation of the automated system, the School Finance Division performed its many Bond Program transactions and calculations with paper applications and extensive manual manipulation of large data sets in spreadsheets. In addition, school districts were required to report the same information to both TEA and to the Municipal Advisory Council. This redundancy sometimes resulted in data entry and reporting errors, which in turn produced inaccurate payments to school districts. This new project replaced these cumbersome processes and improved the flow of critical bond data between the two agencies and the flow of funds to districts.
The Texas Education Agency’s Bond Program system was one of only 12 projects in the state honored for its excellence.
This project was developed under the leadership of TEA staff Lisa Dawn-Fisher, Connie Fannon, Charlie Richter and Jack Roman.