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Investments

Treasury Pool earns highest S&P rating

The Texas Treasury Pool earned Standard & Poor's (S&P) highest rating in April. S&P gave the pool a triple-A credit quality and S1 volatility rating--the first time ever the treasury pool has been rated.

The ratings were made public in an April 30 issue of the financial publication, The Bond Buyer. According to the publication, a triple-A rating reflects extremely strong protection provided by the credit enhancement, while an S1 rating reflects a low sensitivity to volatility.

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander oversees the treasury pool, and the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company, an arm of the Texas Comptroller's office, manages it.

Rylander is pleased with the ratings, adding that she has earned a net $3.5 billion from investments of state dollars since taking office in January 1999, historically the highest in any three-year period ever in Texas.

Taxes

Comptroller delivers April sales tax rebates

The Comptroller's office delivered $272.7 million in monthly sales tax payments to Texas cities, counties, transit departments and special purpose taxing districts. Sales tax allocations to local governments are down 1.4 percent compared with the first four months of 2001.

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander sent sales tax rebates of $182.5 million to 1,116 Texas cities, down 0.6 percent compared with April 2001. April sales tax rebates of $15.8 million went to 121 Texas counties, up 2.6 percent. Another $67.1 million was paid to six metropolitan transit authorities and two city transit departments, and $7.2 million went to 66 special-purpose taxing districts.

April sales tax rebates include local sales taxes collected in February and reported to the Comptroller in March. The state's share of sales tax collected during this period was $1 billion, down 1.5 percent compared with a year ago.

TSPR

Comptroller outlines savings for Laredo ISD

The Texas Comptroller's office delivered a comprehensive Texas School Performance Review of Laredo Independent School District in April, making 101 recommendations that would save taxpayers more than $17.1 million over a five-year period.

"Laredo ISD should be commended for its accomplishments with its more than 22,500 students, more than 91 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged," said Comptroller Rylander. "My performance review found a school district in good shape with a few challenges, including test scores that remain 10 percent below state averages. Even so, there are no low-performing campuses, despite LISD being a property-poor district."

Rylander's performance review found major challenges facing LISD, including improving student performance; ensuring that board members understand their policy-making role; reorganizing the district's management structure; and improving operating efficiency.

TSPR

Rylander details district savings

Brownsville ISD requests Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander announced she will conduct a comprehensive Texas School Performance Review of the Brownsville Independent School District beginning fall 2002.

Since 1999 Comptroller Rylander has completed 43 reviews, marking the completion of more such reviews than any Comptroller in agency history.

The BISD school board requested the review and will pay a quarter of the review's costs. The review will cost an estimated $350,000; the district's portion will be $87,500. Upon completion, a report will be distributed to the district and posted on the Comptroller's Web site at www.window.state.tx.us.