Moody’s Investors Service last week upgraded Winnetka-based Cook County School District 36’s debt to Aaa from Aa1 in conjunction with its $7.8 million new-money and refunding general obligation sale planned for this week.

The upgrade also affects $52.6 million of outstanding debt.

The new debt was approved by voters in an April referendum last year to finance improvements and additions to the district’s school buildings. The deal also will refinance some outstanding debt for restructuring purposes to achieve a level tax rate.

“The highest-grade rating and upgrade reflects the district’s mature tax base with a history of strong voter support for district operations, resident wealth levels, and full valuation per capita that are among the highest in the state and nation,” analysts wrote.

The district covers an area known as the North Shore, a wealthy string of suburbs that run north of Chicago along Lake Michigan. The district also benefits from healthy financial operations, supported by ample reserves and prudent fiscal policies. Though the district has an above-average debt burden, Moody’s analysts believe it is manageable, especially given the district’s limited plans for future borrowing.


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