St. Clair County School District No. 175 (Harmony Emge), IL GO Rating Raised To 'A+' On Improved Budget

CHICAGO (S&P Global Ratings) April 2, 2019--S&P Global Ratings raised its 
rating on St. Clair County School District No. 175 (Harmony Emge), Ill.'s 
general obligation (GO) debt one notch, to 'A+' from 'A'. At the same time, we 
assigned our 'A+' rating to the district's series 2019 GO school bonds. The 
outlook is stable. 

"The upgrade reflects recent budgetary improvement and resulting increases in 
reserves, which are projected to increase again in fiscal 2019," said S&P 
Global Ratings credit analyst Daniel Hughes. The district's performance 
improved due to increased state aid and property tax revenue, coupled with 
savings from teacher retirements. As a result, the district's available fund 
balance increased to $2.4 million, or 23.6% of general fund expenditures at 
the end of fiscal 2018, which we consider strong on a cash basis, from $1.2 
million, or 13.7% of general fund expenditures at the end of fiscal 2016. 
Management projects continued strong operating performance in fiscal 2019, and 
another increase in reserves. We believe the district will continue to take 
proactive steps to maintain reserves at levels we consider at least strong.

The district's unlimited-tax GO pledge secures the bonds. Series 2019 proceeds 
will be used for fire prevention and life safety improvements to facilities 
districtwide. Proceeds will also go to the working cash fund but these 
proceeds will be used for specific facility and safety improvements already 
identified by the district.
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