Moody’s Investors Services has upgraded the San Bernardino City Unified School District’s (SBCUSD) financial rating, a move that could signal lower interest rates on school bonds and lower costs for taxpayers.
The general obligation bond upgrade from A2 to A1 reflects the District’s strong financial outlook and makes it an attractive investment opportunity. Much like a personal credit score, the upgraded bond rating is based on the District’s effective financial management, the general economy in California and the nation, and community demographics. Bond ratings measure the likelihood that a financial obligation will be repaid. The higher the rating, the more likely the debt will be repaid.
Moody’s also upgraded the COP (Certificate of Participation) rating from Baa1 to A3. It is typical for Moody’s to give a COP rating slightly lower than the general obligation bond rating for California school districts.
Moody’s cited its expectation that the District’s tax base will continue growing, financials will remain healthy, and debt and pension obligations will remain manageable as signs of a stable outlook.
Associate Superintendent Jayne Christakos, who oversees the District’s Business Services Department, said the positive ratings are good news for SBCUSD and its taxpayers.
“Our Board of Education has shown that it is a responsible steward of taxpayers’ money,” Christakos said. “This improved rating is the result of years of work toward fiscal stability and our Board’s emphasis on planning for a rainy day.”
In 2012, local voters approved Measure N, the District’s facilities bond measure. The $250 million general obligation bond was vital to helping SBCUSD meet its facility needs.