BHUSD Gets Top Ratings From Credit Agencies

The high ratings come as the district plans to refinance its Measure K bonds.

The nation’s two major credit rating agencies have both reaffirmed the ’s high credit rank, the agencies said this week in separate reports.

 maintained a “AA” score for the district, one step below its top rating of “AAA.” The agency also revised its ratings outlook for BHUSD from “stable” to “positive,” which signifies the potential to upgrade the district to S&P’s highest mark.

“The positive outlook reflects our view of the district’s improved revenue structure,” S&P said in a March 1 report. “We could raise the ratings if we believe the district will maintain very strong reserve levels going forward.”

Moody’s Investors Service, which tracks the debt of more than 25,000 public finance issuers in 110 countries, kept the district’s rating of “Aa1,” one step below the agency’s top rating of “Aaa.” It had  BHUSD to Aa1 in December 2010.

Moody’s also assigned the Aa1 rating to bonds that the BHUSD expects to issue soon to refinance existing Measure K bonds. (Measure K is a $90 million school bond passed by voters in 2002.) The Board of Education this week on the refinancing plan over concerns about which investment bank would underwrite the bonds.

The strong rating reflects the district’s “substantial wealth levels and sizable tax base,” Moody’s said in its Feb. 28 report. “After two years of very narrow finances, the district’s financial position is returning to previous levels.”

Moody’s described BHUSD’s status as a “key credit strength.” Under basic aid, BHSUD is funded by local property taxes rather than a per-student subsidy from the state.

BHUSD’s ratings are already the highest of any school district in the state, according to Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Alex Cherniss. Should S&P raise its ratings of BHUSD even further, it would elevate the district to an elite financial status among California school districts. 

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