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New York firm hikes school district bond rating into ‘A’ level

The Rockdale ISD has received some good news, despite the tough economic times. The nation’s best-known, and most well-respected financial services company has upgraded Rockdale ISD’s issuer credit rating.

 

This month, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) notified the district it has raised the district’s rating from “BBB” to “A.”

At the same time S&P also reaffirmed the district’s separate long-term rating, which covers its general obligation bonds incurred in the recent construction program, as “AAA.”

Both ratings indicate a “stable outlook” for Rockdale ISD finances, according to S&P.

What does that mean? S&P readily notes their ratings are not recommendations to buy, hold or sell any obligations nor does it mean S&P has, or is seeking, a financial relationship with the Rockdale ISD.

But it does mean the most prestigious institution of its kind in the United States has looked at the way our school district conducts its financial obligations and has endorsed them, strongly.

In fact, S&P says what these ratings reflect is an opinion of the district’s “strong financial position, including historically strong reserves” and “sound fiscal management.”

S&P, obviously, is aware of what has transpired in the nation and the Rockdale area during the past 18 months.

“In our opinion the district’s declining enrollment trends, concentrated property tax base and limited local economy somewhat offset these strengths,” the S&P report states.

And the report cites the closure of Alcoa’s Rockdale Operations and the large number of retirees in the area as factors which keep a downward pressure on enrollment.

However, S&P’s report apparently doesn’t factor in the unexpected enrollment increase of about 50 students in 2009-10.

But the bottom line is that S&P has looked at the Rockdale ISD and concluded its financial position “remains very strong.”

That’s a good bottom line to have.—M.B.


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2009-12-17 digital edition



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