District wise, thoughtful in its financial matters

This month, I would like to share news with the public about Princeton Public School’s financial picture. There are many ways to look at school district’s financial health.

One way is to look at a Moody Rating. Moody ratings have been around since 1909, originated by John Moody. These ratings provide a simple system of gradation by which school district credit is established. This system is similar to your own personal credit report.

We most recently received a new Moody rating of Aa3 and Aa2 MSDE (Minnesota School District Enhancement) enhanced. What does this mean? The enhanced rating was a stable outlook to Princeton Public Schools.

According to Moody, our strengths include:

• A history of general fund operating surpluses, which have led to ample reserves.

• Despite delays of state aid in recent years, the district has maintained a positive cash balance.

Again from Moody, our challenges include:

• A history of declining enrollment.

• Several school buildings are in need of renovation and/or replacement.

In addition, Moody told us that our debt burden is in line with the state median and slightly higher than the national median. Our report stated that our debt service, as a percentage of total operating percentages, is manageable, at 7 percent.

How does our district stack up to 118 districts that were rated as of July 15, 2013?

Seventy-one districts were below the Aa3 rating, 24 rated higher, and 23 were in Aa3. That means that our district is performing higher than 71 districts

What does this mean to you, the taxpayer?

It means that, due to the fine work in our Business Services and the governance from our Board Finance Committee, our district has been wise and thoughtful in our district financial matters. They are good stewards of public funds.

Thank your director of business services, Michelle Czech, and our finance Board Committee chair, Jeremy Miller, for their diligent work.