Standard & Poor’s this week upgraded its underlying rating on limited-tax certificates issued for Joliet Junior College by Will, Grundy, Etc. Counties Community College District No. 525 into the low double-A category, citing a long trend of robust economic growth, upgraded management practices, and stable financial operations.
The certificates were upgraded to AA-minus from A-plus, affecting about $6 million of debt issued in 2003. At the same time, Standard & Poor’s assigned a first-time AA rating to the district’s upcoming $30 million sale of general obligation bonds. The certificates are a notch lower because they do not carry the full faith and credit of the district.
The rating reflects the district’s large and diverse service area, good enrollment growth and competitive tuition levels, very strong general fund reserves augmented by a sizable working cash fund, and moderate overall debt burden. Growth pressures and substantial future capital needs that will elevate the debt burden constrain the above strengths, analysts said.
Joliet Junior College serves a 1,442 square-mile area with 770,000 residents in Will and Grundy counties and parts of five other counties.