It's not just students who get graded based on their success, school districts do too. Rockford District 205 just got news that could save taxpayers millions.
Last November, Rockford voters passed the Better Schools referendum. District 205 is beginning to issue the bonds to go along with it. But before they could, administrators had to get a bond rating from a ratings agency. They came back with a good grade.
The credit rating Rockford Public Schools District 205 has been raised from A+ to AA-, putting it on the same level as some of the best districts in Illinois.
Dr. Robert Willis, Rockford School District 205's Interim Superintendent explains, the better the rating, the lower the interest the school district will have to pay to bond holders. "It's like a mortgage, if you have a bad credit rating and you have to get a mortgage, and you have to pay 7% because of your bad credit rating, that's not good. if you have a good credit rating, you might get that same mortgage for 4%."
Standard & Poor's raised the rating because of the district's financial performance, conservative budgeting, the Ten Year Facilities Plan, and Rockford's level of economic diversity.
"Even in spite of the situation is Illinois, state finances, our local finances are exceedingly strong," says Willis.
The final result is not just good news for the school district. Taxpayers can be happy about the new rating too. District 205's Operation Committee Chair Tim Rollins says, "It's going to save the district and the taxpayers about $3.4 million which can then be invested in facilities rather than being paid as interest to the bond holders."
Dr. Willis and Tim Rollins also explains, this rating could affect Rockford as a whole. They believe a healthy school district has the potential to act as a draw for businesses and home buyers to settle in the city.
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