Category : CCSD
The Cherokee County School District’s credit rating continues to improve — an achievement that saves taxpayer dollars.
The School District’s already positive Aa3 and AA- levels, as rated by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s financial service companies, were upgraded this week to Aa2 and AA- Positive, another step toward the goal of acquiring the top AAA rating from both agencies.
“A perfect rating is our goal, which is a challenge, as factors such as State funding and the local economy are considered, but we’re up the challenge,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said, noting CCSD’s Division of Financial Management led by Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Owen deserves high praise for its efforts to upgrade the rating. “Our credit rating impacts costs including rates for insurance and for borrowing, and continuous improvement saves taxpayer dollars by keeping those rates low.”
Moody’s upgraded its rating to Aa2 from Aa3 to reflect CCSD’s improved financial position, as a result of strong revenue performance, enhanced expenditure controls and replenished reserves, and improved revenue due to an expanding tax base as the local and State economy recovers. The company specifically noted among CCSD’s credit strengths its use of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) proceeds to retire bond debt from school construction and other capital infrastructure costs.
Standard & Poor’s revised the outlook on its AA- rating to Positive from Stable, which reflects an opinion of “improved financial performance” and points to an increasing likelihood of achieving AAA within the next two years if CCSD’s funding reserves continue at current levels or increase.
The company cited as strengths CCSD’s operating performance, strong available fund balance and moderate overall debt coupled with local economy and tax base growth. Standard & Poor’s also upgraded CCSD’s management score to Good from Standard, noting improved financial operations, such as budget development and monitoring, in the past two fiscal years.
Dr. Hightower said efforts are underway to further improve CCSD’s financial position including an adjustment of the tax collection timeline to as it relates to the timing of the annual infusion of local tax dollars into the operating budget.