Fitch Ratings Revised Outlook for SDIRC

Fitch Ratings Revised Outlook for SDIRC From "Negative" to "Stable"
Posted on 03/12/2021

Vero Beach, FL, March 12, 2021– We are excited to announce Fitch Ratings has revised their outlook for our district from “Negative” to “Stable.” Removing the negative outlook denotes Fitch’s view that the previously observed negative pressure on the District’s financial condition has subsided.

SDIRC Superintendent Dr. David K. Moore stated, “This rating is an acknowledgement of the hard work and leadership of our Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Ron Fagan, and the finance team, as we continue to create a values-based budget system to maximize the resources to be best by kids.”

The change in status of the bond rating is a positive pivoting point for the district and its financial stability position,” added SDIRC Chief Financial Officer, Ron Fagan. “Reflecting over the last year, this is a strong indication that SDIRC is moving in the right direction.”

On March 10th, Fitch Ratings released their Bond Rating on the School District of Indian River County. The rating on the District’s outstanding Certificates of Participation (COPs) remained unchanged at “A+” which is investment grade. The rating on the District, also known as “issuer rating,” remained unchanged at “AA-“, also investment grade.

Fitch is one of three primary rating agencies in the United States including Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings and Moody’s.

The “Issuer Rating” denotes its opinion of the District’s ability to honor senior unsecured debt and debt-like obligations. This is typically reflective of a general obligation pledge in the case of U.S. local government issuers. The District’s COP rating is one notch lower than its Issuer Rating. It is largely derivative of the Issuer Rating analysis, but also reflects the risk stemming from the annual appropriation nature of COPs debt.

Factors leading to the change in the ‘Outlook’ are as follows:

  • Budgetary and operational improvements eliminating previous structural imbalance and stabilized operating reserves at a sound level.
  • Receipt of $3.3 million in funds from the CARES Act, as well as $1 million from County CARES funds.
  • 2020-2021 state budget increase of $137 per pupil (+1.8%), including $500 million for teacher pay raises.
  • Voters re-approved a four-year additional half-mill operating property tax levy.
  • $12M additional funding from ESSER II (CARES).
  • Operating stability through the COVID pandemic.
  • Very low long-term liability burden.
  • Budgetary flexibility options availability in case of revenue downturn.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Cristen Maddux at 772-564-5527 or email at Cristen.maddux@indianriverschools.org.