The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District recently received the top credit rating from
Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”).
Moody’s upgraded the district’s general obligation bond credit rating one level, from ‘Aa1’ to ‘Aaa,’ the highest possible rating an issuer can achieve.
“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!”
Moody’s generally reviews four factors in assessing an issuer’s creditworthiness:
(1) District finances
(2) District management
(3) District debt/pension obligations
(4) local economy.
Of these areas, the District has more control of its finances, management, and debt and an influence on its local economy.
Moody’s noted the following as credit strengths:
Large, diverse and growing tax base
Very high resident wealth levels
Robust supplementary revenues bolstering financial position and per pupil resources
“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.”
The district has received a formal credit report from Moody’s, which will be disseminated to the investment community. The district’s rating was updated as part of its upcoming $60 million Measure ES general obligation bond issuance to fund projects in the district.