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Santa Monica-Malibu School District Receives Prime Bond Rating


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By Lookout Staff

May 25, 2017 -- The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified Schools District (SMMUSD) has received the highest credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service, one of the top two bond credit rating agencies, district officials announced Wednesday.

The prime Aaa rating signifies that the district has "extremely strong" capacity to meet its financial commitments. The district previously had a Aa1, the second highest rating from Moody's.

The upgrade is expected to attract more investors, which would lower taxpayer costs, when SMMUSD issues an upcoming $60 million bond to fund district projects.

“We are so pleased to have reached Aaa,” said School Board President Laurie Lieberman, who participated in the presentation to the rating analysts.

“Moody's was particularly impressed with the level of support we receive from the community, and it is so gratifying to report this result back to our constituents.”

In assessing the district's creditworthiness, Moody’s reviewed its finances, management, debt and pension obligations and the state of the local economy.

In granting the Aaa rating, Moody's cited the "large, diverse and growing" local tax base and the area's "very high resident wealth levels," district officials said

It also cited the district's "robust supplementary revenues," its "per pupil resources" and its "strong reserves."

The upcoming $60 million bond is the result of Measure ES, which was approved by voters in November 2012. The measure authorized the District to issue $385 million in bonds to be used solely for school facilities building and infrastructure improvement.

“A natural ‘Aaa’ rating is rare for a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCFF) district,” said Anthony Hsieh of Keygent, the district's financial advisor. “We expect this rating upgrade to attract more investors and result in lower taxpayer costs.”


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