BRADENTON, Fla. — The rating of G-Star School of the Arts, a niche Florida charter school focusing on film and entertainment, dropped two notches further into junk territory.
Standard & Poor's lowered the ratings on the school's Series 2005A and B bonds to B-plus from BB Oct. 9, and said the outlook is negative.
The agency cited a number of financial and reporting problems.
The school had $6.98 million of tax-exempt and taxable private-activity revenue bonds outstanding as of June 30, 2012. The bonds were rated BB when issued on behalf of the school by Palm Beach County.
The rating action reflects S&P's evaluation of the credit risks associated with the school, which includes two years of less than one times current and maximum annual debt service coverage as well as declining unrestricted liquidity and balance sheet metrics.
Analyst Avani Parik also said G-Star exhibited weak financial policies and reporting "and lack of timely response to our information requests."
"We also believe there is a lack of division among leadership responsibilities on the management team and a lack of adequate succession planning for the school's dynamic leader," Parik said, adding that the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer, motion picture and television producer Greg Hauptner, are the same person.
This fall total enrollment is 1,061, which is close to the facility's capacity but below expected enrollment levels of 1,130, S&P said.
G-Star was founded by Hauptner. It received its original charter in 2002. It was renewed in 2007 for 10 years.
In addition to the bonds, the school's other long-term debt includes a $2.35 million note to Seaside National Bank & Trust, a $44,665 note to the Village of Palm Springs, and $324,161 in capital leases.