Officials with Gwinnett County Public Schools just got some great news: The nation”s two leading rating agencies reaffirmed the district”s “AAA” (triple-A) bond rating – the highest possible bond rating.
Standard & Poor”s (S&P) assigned its “AAA”# long-term rating and stable outlook for GCPS” 2013 general obligation (GO) bonds and affirmed its “AAA long-term rating on the district”s previously issued GO bonds.
In addition, Moody”s Investment Services reaffirmed the school system”s triple-A rating.
Gwinnett is the only school district in Georgia with a AAA rating from either rating agency.
It is the only school district in the southeastern United States with this financial distinction from either agency. And it is one of only two large school systems in the nation with a AAA rating from either agency.
“Our community can be quite proud of this accomplishment,”# said CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. “We have achieved something few school districts in the nation have been able to do. The triple-A ratings are strong statements of our Board of Education”s record of financial stewardship and governance. It is a testament to the work we do to manage our limited resources, leveraging what we have to focus on our core business of teaching and learning.”#
In issuing its report, S&P indicated the district”s “ability to manage spending and accommodate enrollment growth in the face of a decreasing tax digest and ongoing state quality basic education aid reductions has enabled the district to maintain a good financial position.
The report also said that “Gwinnett County School District”s management practices are considered “strong” under Standard & Poor”s Financial Management Assessment (FMA). An FMA of strong indicates that practices are strong, well embedded, and likely sustainable.”#
The ratings rationale from Moody”s stated, “The assignment of Moody”s highest-quality rating reflects the district”s diverse and sizeable tax base, above average, but manageable, debt burden, and satisfactory financial position, which is supported by proactive management and comprehensive fiscal policies and planning.”#
Chief Financial Officer Rick Cost further explained the importance of the upgraded ratings: “Being recognized nationally by Moody”s and Standard & Poor”s speaks well of the district”s financial future. We all benefit from this”the school district, taxpayers, and students”as we will be able to acquire the lowest interest rates possible on the sale of bonds, which translates into having more money available to go toward teaching and learning.”#
Gwinnett County Public Schools” favorable bond ratings is based on the school district”s continued maintenance of a strong financial profile in spite of limited state aid growth, as well as the district”s ability to maintain a favorable debt profile throughout a period of rapid growth and substantial capital needs.