In advance of its next bond issue, both Moody’s and S&P give SKPS high marks in recent credit opinion reports

American credit rating agencies Moody’s Investor Service and S&P Global Ratings have given Salem-Keizer Public Schools ratings of Aa2 and AA+ long term, respectively.

On Wednesday, June 24, 2020 the district will release its second and final issue of general obligation bonds under the $619.7 million authority granted by Salem and Keizer voters in May 2018. The amount of the 2020 issue is approximately $236.5 million.

Moody’s Aa2 rating is the third highest credit rating that the agency assigns to bonds. Both the Moody’s and S&P scores indicate the district has strong capacity meet its financial commitments.

The scores were released in mid-June following analysis of the district’s management practices, economic base, maintenance of reserves, and participation in the Oregon School Bond Guaranty Program.

The S&P Global report notes a number of district management highlights helped inform its ratings decision, including:

  • Use of at least three years of historical information in the formulation of the upcoming year’s revenue and expenditure assumptions with the help of outside sources and a line-by-line approach to budgeting;
  • Quarterly reporting of budget-to-actual performance to the council with the ability to make amendments to the budget as needed;
  • Long-term financial plan that goes out five years and is updated on an annual basis;
  • Long-term capital plan that addresses various capital needs;
  • Formalized investment management policy with annual reporting of investments and holdings

The 2018 bond program promises to address school overcrowding, prepare schools for future enrollment growth, improve safety and security including seismic safety, expand career-technical (vocational) education programs, expand science education opportunities and protect the community’s investment in district facilities.

For more information on the 2018 bond program, please visit our Bond Program webpage.