School District Maintains Strong Credit Rating

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Hermiston School District announced today that Standard and Poor’s Corporation reaffirmed the district’s outstanding AA- (double A minus) credit rating, last received in 2010.

District officials say the strong credit rating, coupled with the refinancing of some of the district’s long term bond debt, is projected to save Hermiston taxpayers over $1.0 Million in interest over the life of the bonds.

“We are absolutely thrilled with this reaffirmed rating,” commented Wade Smith, deputy superintendent. “Many district and municipalities who have recently gone through this process have seen their credit rating fall as a result of the recession.”

The comprehensive credit rating process required Smith and Business Manager Katie Saul to prepare detailed documentation and supporting materials to advocate the district’s financial standing to the San Francisco based rating firm. In its rating report, S&P highlighted the following strengths of Hermiston School District:

• Stable student enrollment, with steady growth expected;
• Maintenance of reserves, with the available fund balance at 8.3 percent of operating expenditures;
• Good financial policies and practices, including a policy of maintaining a general fund balance of at least 8 percent of revenue.

Taking advantage of historically low interest rates, the district plans to refinance approximately $18 million in outstanding debt. District officials say the savings will provide relief to taxpayers in future years, as the debt refinanced will yield financial benefits beginning in fiscal year 2020.