Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) recently received an upgraded credit rating that will help the district in the long run to “achieve lower interest rates and greater savings for the taxpayers,” according to WCHCS Treasurer/CFO Becky Mullins.
Mullins explained that on March 22, the district received an upgraded credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service to “A1” — previously WCHCS was rated “A2.” Like a personal credit score, the district carries an underlying rating from a credit rating agency to signify the district’s financial strength to purchasers of the district’s bonds.
“Myself and the board of education are encouraged by the bond rating upgrade as something we can use to continue to show the stewardship of finances within the district,” Mullins said. “When we present to Moody’s on a bond rating call, they want information about the local economy, they want to know a little more about the local tax base, and a little more demographic information as far as poverty or income levels. So most of the information is demographic and tax base information from both a property standpoint and an income standpoint.”
Moody’s completed a thorough rating analysis on the district taking into account all of this information and more about the district’s management, finances, economic development and demographics.
Mullins said she presented to Moody’s in early March to help showcase all the current positive aspects of the district. After Moody’s review, they determined the district deserved the rating upgrade citing strengths of the district—including strong management, recent community support with the approval of the new income tax, and “stable ongoing development in the area” per their credit opinion dated March 22.
“It is great to be able to see the bond rating upgrade and to make that impact for the district so we can look to the future,” Mullins said. “Whether it is new bonds or construction, something the district may do years down the road, we know there will be an impact to savings from the bond rating. In the meantime, there is also the opportunity to do refunding on current debt we have. Refunding is essentially like you or I refinancing our mortgage. In the school district world and in the world of bonds, it is refunding, but it is a simple refinance where we can take advantage of lower rates and savings. So we are looking to monitor those rates now to see if there is an option to refund that debt, which would be a direct savings to the taxpayers who are paying property taxes on those bonds.”
Mike Burns, managing director of Baird (Columbus), commented, “to receive an upgraded bond rating in today’s COVID-19 world we live in is a testament to the district’s conservative financial management.”
The information in this article was provided by WCHCS Treasurer/CFO Becky Mullins and the district.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 463-9684 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.