Fitch Ratings in late December upgraded to AA from AA-minus the New Albany Plain Local School District’s $79 million of outstanding unlimited-tax general obligation debt as part of its routine credit surveillance.
Analysts wrote that the district’s credit reflects elevated income levels, substantial reserves, rapid enrollment growth, and a high debt burden. The rating also incorporates a strong record of voter support evidenced most recently with the adoption of an increase to the property tax levy in November.
Voters authorized the levy increase in connection with a conversion of approximately 50% of district property tax revenue from emergency levies to a continuing operating levy that does not expire, eliminating reauthorization risk. Analysts wrote that their primary credit concern is the district’s high debt level, totaling over $8,500 per capita.
“With enrollment growing an average of 12% annually over the last 13 years, and projected to continue, capital needs are substantial and will likely keep debt levels high but affordable, given that 2000 per capita income for the village of New Albany was close to three times the national average,” analysts wrote.
The district covers 25 square miles immediately northeast of Columbus.