Moody's Investors Service said it has downgraded to Baa1 from A3 the underlying rating on Gooding County School District No. 232 (Wendell), Idaho's general obligation bonds outstanding in the approximate amount of $12.5 million.

The bonds are secured by the district's full faith, credit and unlimited property tax pledge, and also backed by the Idaho School Bond Guaranty Program, which maintains a Aaa rating.

The downgrade of the district's underlying rating to Baa1 from A3 reflects the steady degradation of the district's finances over the last several years, leading to reserve and liquidity levels that are well below the median for similarly rated districts.

The Baa1 rating also incorporates the small tax base with concentration in the dairy industry, below-average socioeconomic measures reflective of the agricultural economy, and somewhat high debt burden.

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