Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it raised to AA-minus from A-plus its rating on Winnebago & Boone Counties School District No. 205 (Rockford), Ill.'s outstanding general obligation debt.
The agency also assigned a AA-minus rating to the district's series 2013 GO school bonds. The outlook is stable.
"The upgrade is due to the district's strong financial performance and very strong level of reserves," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst John Kenward.
Other factors are the district's: diverse economy centered on Rockford, adequate income level, recent history of positive general fund operations with very strong reserves, and low overall debt burden with rapid amortization.
Offsetting factors are the district's high unemployment rate, only-adequate market value per capita, and dependence on the state, which has delayed categorical aid payments in recent years and reduced its general funding, for a substantial part of its operational revenues.
The series 2013 bonds are GOs of the district payable from unlimited ad valorem property taxes. The bonds are part of $139 million of GO bonds approved by voter referendum in November 2012. The district will use proceeds for various capital improvements to its buildings.
The district provides pre-K-through-12 education to a population of about 197,700 residing in and near the city of Rockford.