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Orleans Parish Parishwide School District, LA General Obligation Rating Raised To 'AA-' On Very Strong Fund Balances

CENTENNIAL (S&P Global Ratings) Feb. 1, 2019--S&P Global Ratings raised its 
underlying rating (SPUR) to 'AA-' from 'A+' on Orleans Parish Parishwide 
School District, La.'s existing general obligation (GO) bonds. At the same 
time, we affirmed our 'AA-' SPUR on the Orleans Parish School Board's (OPSB) 
series 2011B revenue bonds. The outlooks are stable. The board's outstanding 
direct debt is roughly $109 million.

"The upgrade reflects the OPSB's maintenance of very strong fund balances, 
which have exceeded 100% of operating expenditures for the last 10 years, and 
our expectation that the reserves will remain at the current level for the 
next two years," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Joyce Jung. OPSB is 
the governing authority of the Orleans Parish Parishwide School District. The 
board oversees roughly 75 charter schools and operates two public schools.

The rating reflects our opinion of the board's:

  • Direct access to and participation in the New Orleans metropolitan statistical area;
  • Very strong financial position, reflected in reserves equal to over 100% of operating expenditures; and
  • Low debt burden as a percentage of market value.
Partly offsetting the above strengths, in our view, is the district's 
below-average, albeit adequate, per capita effective buying income.

The stable outlook reflects our opinion that the board will maintain very 
strong reserves and the debt burden remain will low for the next two years. 
Therefore, we do not expect to change our rating over the two-year outlook 
period.

We could raise the rating if the economy expands materially, increasing wealth 
and income metrics to levels comparable with those of higher-rated peers.

We could lower the rating if the board's finances deteriorate materially and 
are no longer comparable with those of its peers.
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