The Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside County received a AA-minus and stable outlook from Fitch Ratings for $21.8 million of new general obligation refunding bonds.

Fitch also affirmed the Southern California district’s $32 million of outstanding GOs.

The regional economy, marked by 14.4% unemployment and economic strains caused by housing foreclosures, has led to rating declines for other area issuers.

Analysts conceded that the area retains long-term strengths due to its proximity to major labor markets and its significance to the region’s trade and transportation industries.

Analysts said they affirmed the GOs because the district’s general fund reserves have improved and its budgeting practices are conservative.

Like many California school districts, Jurupa USD is highly dependent on state funding and faces a significant degree of uncertainty with respect to both the timing and amount of revenue it will receive, the report stated.

The revenue pressures are increased by the district’s trend of moderate declines in average daily attendance, which reduces the amount of guaranteed state funding according to California’s per-pupil funding formula, analysts said.

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