Moody's Investors Service has downgraded to Aa2 from Aa1 the rating on Cook County CCSD 65's (Evanston-Skokie, Ill.) general obligation debt.
Concurrently, Moody's has assigned a Aa2 rating to the district's $15 million general obligation limited tax school bonds, Series 2013. The Aa2 rating applies to $72 million of outstanding general obligation debt, including current offering.
Secured by the district's general obligation limited tax pledge, the current issues benefit from a dedicated levy that is unlimited by rate but is limited by amount. The amount of taxes levied is limited by the district's statutory debt service extension base (DSEB), which provides coverage for the projected debt service on the district's non-referendum general obligation debt.
Therefore, the current bonds are rated on parity with the district's general obligation unlimited tax pledge.
Approximately $2 million of proceeds of the Series 2013 bonds will modestly restructure debt service to provide level debt service under the district's DSEB. The remainder of the proceeds will be used for building additions and renovations, roof replacements, fire prevention upgrades, and site improvements.
The downgrade rating action and assignment of the Aa2 rating reflect the district's declining financial position marked by narrow reserves in the general fund and satisfactory reserves in the working cash fund; a mature, affluent tax base that is anchored by Northwestern University (Aaa/stable); and manageable debt profile.