DALLAS -- Standard & Poor's upgraded Owasso Public Schools, Okla. general obligation bonds to AA-minus from A-plus on based on stronger reserves.
The district's reserves remained strong, even after federal stimulus funds were spent, according S&P analyst Russell Bryce.
The district, also known as Tulsa County Independent School District No. 11, is just north of Tulsa, where it serves an estimated population of about 48,000 in the city of Owasso and surrounding rural areas.
Voters approved a $4.7 million bond issue on April 1, with about $3.53 million earmarked for technology and maintenance upgrades. The other $1.15 million of the measure is for buses.
The district is preparing to issue $12.9 million of bonds to repay lease revenue bonds, along with textbooks and transportation needs. The district sells general obligation bonds to pay debt service on lease revenue bonds issued through the Tulsa County Industrial Authority.
S&P also raised its rating on TCIA to A-plus from A.
"The raised ratings on the authority's revenue bonds reflect the general creditworthiness of the district as well as the bonds' appropriation risk," Bryce noted.
Including lease revenue bonds and lease purchase agreements, the district's overall net debt is about $58 million or 1.5% of market value and $1,257 per capita, according to S&P.
"Debt amortization is extremely rapid, with officials retiring all debt and lease revenue bonds by 2019," Bryce observed.
District officials report that the district plans to issue up to about $20 million in fiscal 2016 to build another elementary school and for other projects.
The district is not rated by Moody's Investors Service or Fitch Ratings.