Valley Tech bond rating upgraded by Moody’s
UPTON – The refinancing of existing debt has resulted in an improved bond rating for the Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District and anticipated savings of $400,000 for its 13 towns.
The $3.9 million in refinanced debt represents the remaining portion of a $36 million bond unanimously approved by District towns in 2001 to establish three new vocational technical programs. Last spring, the District proposed refinancing of the remaining debt as part of its request for a $2.9 million bond to once again add three in-demand programs. At that time, the District calculated that member towns could use savings from the refinancing to offset the new bond’s already-modest impact. When the new bond proposal did not advance at town meetings, District officials decided to pursue a debt-free method for adding new programs, but maintained the refinancing of existing debt as a top priority.
“There may have been healthy debate on our proposal to leverage the refinancing of existing debt to maximize the impact of a modest new bond, but the need to do everything we can to protect the financial interest of our District towns is not up for debate,” said Superintendent-Director Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick. “As the state’s budget cuts loom on the horizon of the upcoming local budget season, we’re pleased to share this news of additional savings for our member towns.”
While going through the rigorous refinancing process, the District requested that Moody’s Investment Services perform a simultaneous review of its bond rating, which resulted in an upgrade from a rating of Aa3 to a rating of Aa2. In its report, Moody’s indicated that three of Valley Tech’s District towns share the favorable Aa2 rating and that the District’s improved bond rating was largely based on its proven commitment to cost containment.
“Financial operations have been generally stable over the past six years and the district should maintain a sound financial position going forward given conservative budgeting practices,” the report stated.
News of the District’s improved bond rating was well-received by the School Committee, which expressed pride in the endorsement of its long-standing fiscal practices and credited Treasurer Barbara A. Auger and Business Director Kurtis Johnson for their roles in maintaining the stability of Valley Tech’s financial foundation.
“As many of our District-town leaders and now Moody’s will attest, Valley Tech does all it can to walk the walk in terms of conservative financing,” said School Committee Chairman Joseph M. Hall of Bellingham. “We look carefully at every opportunity for savings, whether it’s putting solar panels on the roof, cutting back on paper usage, or refinancing debt. To be assigned such a high rating from Moody’s is confirmation that we are indeed doing our best to monitor, advance, and protect the District’s finances.”