Standard & Poor’s has raised its underlying rating on Calcasieu Parish School District No. 23’s general obligation debt one notch to A-minus from BBB-plus, citing significant growth in the property tax base and improved wealth and income levels. The outlook is stable.

The improved rating applies to the district’s $37.3 million of outstanding debt and the planned sale of $15 million of public school improvement bonds. Standard & Poor’s is the only agency with an unenhanced rating on the district’s debt.

Credit analyst Sarah Smaardyk said the higher rating is based on the district’s participation in the Lake Charles metropolitan statistical area, a sound financial position, healthy reserves, and strong oversight provided by the Calcasieu Parish School Board.

“We believe school board officials will sustain the satisfactory financial position, including maintaining reserves, and that the board will continue to receive substantial state support of parish operations,” Smaardyk said. “We also believe the district’s overall net debt burden will moderate as the property tax base continues to grow and that capital needs will remain limited.”

The school board is the governing and operating authority for the parish’s 13 school districts.

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