Moody’s Investors Service on Monday removed the negative outlook that was assigned to the Hancock County School District’s general obligation bonds following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Moody’s also affirmed its A rating on $9.13 million of the district’s GO debt.
The removal of the negative outlook reflects the stabilization and growth of the district’s tax base, financial reserves, and student enrollment since Katrina, said a report by analyst John Nichols.
The district, located on the Gulf Coast, has seen its sizeable $2.07 billion tax base grow an average of 8.5% annually largely due to reconstruction after the hurricane. Fiscal 2010 student enrollment is 4,344, nearly an 8% increase since Katrina.
Moody’s anticipates the direct debt burden to remain modest due to the rapid principal amortization rate and lack of additional debt plans in the near term, Nichols said, adding that district finances are being pressured by state funding cuts.