Alachua County Public Schools maintains high credit rating

In a report that cited “strong management, with good policies and practices,” the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has awarded Alachua County Public Schools an AA- rating, which means the district’s credit is considered ‘high quality.’

ACPS has also received notification that prominent credit agency Moody’s has awarded the district a ‘high-quality’ A3 rating, The district expects to receive Moody’s full report later this week.

A high rating is an indicator of the agencies’ overall view of ACPS’ financial health now and its ability to meet future obligations. It also reduces the district’s borrowing costs. 

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“In practical terms, that means our facilities funding, including the revenues from the Half-Cent for Schools, will go further,” said Alex Rella, the district’s Superintendent for Business Services. 

Currently the district is in the process of issuing bonds to fund school facilities projects, including the revitalization of Howard Bishop Middle, Metcalfe and Idywild elementary schools, the construction of Elementary School I and a new classroom building at Oak View Middle School.

The reports follow comprehensive presentations by Superintendent Karen Clarke and Rella to a group of experts from both firms earlier this month that covered issues ranging from finances to the district’s COVID-19 response. In fact, the report’s authors referred to “management’s proactive approach to planning” in light of the pandemic.

“We believe the district has shown its effectiveness in managing its budget, which will support its credit quality over the next two years,” wrote the report’s authors Nora G. Wittstruck and Krystal Tena.

“We’re pleased with the recognition from two highly-regarded financial firms that they consider us well-positioned for the future,” said Clarke.

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