School board approves $25M bond for capital projects

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The Carson City School Board on Tuesday approved a School Improvement Bond resolution for $25 million in improvements to the district.

The action is to help with ongoing maintenance and rehabilitation capital projects before they come more costly in time, chief financial officer Spencer Winward informed board members.

During the board’s July 25 meeting, trustees voted to obtain approval from the Carson City Debt Management Commission for a bond issuance of $40 million during the next three years.

Capital projects are overseen and managed by the district’s Facilities Master Plan Committee, which also signed off on its five-year improvement plan in June. The plan prioritizes major site and facilities undertakings in partnership with CCSD’s Bond Oversight Committee.

On Tuesday, Trustee Joe Cacioppo asked bond consultant Marty Johnson of JNA Consulting Group, who has been advising the district about its financial health, what the current economic climate is like and how CCSD’s bond rating compares now. Moody’s Investors Service, which ranks credit worthiness on a scale from Aaa to a minimum C, downgraded Carson City School District’s issuer ratings on its general obligation limited tax bonds in February 2021 from Aa2 to Aa3. CCSD generally has maintained a healthy fund balance with an enrollment trend that has remained stable, which have contributed to the district’s credit quality.

On Wednesday, Moody’s released its latest rating for Carson City, and its rating remain unchanged at Aa3.

In a press release, Moody’s stated the rating “reflects the district’s strong management that supports healthy reserves and cash balances that remain stable. The rating incorporates recent declines in enrollment that are expected to stabilize at lower levels in the near-term and not pressure financial performance given recent growth in state funding. The district’s high leverage driven by a growing pension burden is a material credit weakness."

Washoe County School District remains Nevada’s top rated district with an Aa2 rating. A rating of Aaa signifies the lowest level of risk.

Carson City’s downgrade a few years ago was out of its control at the time, Johnson explained.

“Moody’s changed their methodology, which is like starting a game of Monopoly and, halfway through, just deciding, ‘Hey, we’re going to play differently now and, if you pass Go, you’re going to get $100 now instead of $200,’ ” Johnson said. “(There’s) nothing we could do about it.”


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