Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it raised its long-term rating and underlying rating to A-plus from A on Southwest Licking School District, Ohio's general obligation bonds and series 2009 and 2012 tax anticipation notes.

At the same time, it assigned its AA long-term rating and A-plus school issuer credit rating to the district's series 2013A unlimited-tax GO refunding bonds and series 2013B limited-tax GO refunding bonds. The outlook is stable.

"The rating action reflects our view of the district's improved financial forecast resulting from budget cuts and an increase in state aid revenue," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Santo Barretta.

The AA rating is based on the district's participation in the Ohio state aid intercept program.

The A-plus long-term rating on the district's GO debt reflects the district's: participation within the deep and diverse Columbus metropolitan area economy; very strong income levels and strong wealth as measured by market value per capita; diversified revenue stream that includes income tax revenue, property tax revenue, and state aid; and low overall debt burden.

The series 2013A and 2013B bond proceeds will be used to current refund a portion of the district's series 2003A and 2003B energy conservation notes.

The stable outlook on the long-term enhanced rating reflects the strength of Ohio's state aid intercept structure. The stable outlook on the ICR and TAN rating reflects the district will take the steps it deems necessary to keep adequate reserve levels.

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