Nation's leading rating agencies reaffirm Gwinnett County Public Schools' highest bond ratings

SUWANEE — In continuing a recent trend, Gwinnett County Public Schools has received another positive financial report from two of the nation’s leading rating agencies.

The district’s triple-A bond rating was reaffirmed by Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Investment Services after it had the same rating last year, and was raised from double-A plus in 2008. District officials said the district is the only one in the state and the Southeast with a triple-A rating from either agency, and one of two large school systems in the country with that designation.

Standard and Poor’s assigned the long-term rating and stable outlook to the district’s previously issued general obligation bonds. Superintendent/CEO J. Alvin Wilbanks said the rating is a statement to the Board of Education’s financial stewardship and governance.

“Our community can be quite proud of this accomplishment,” Wilbanks said in a press release. “We have achieved something few school districts in the nation have been able to do. … It is a testament to the work we do to manage our limited resources, leveraging what we have to focus on our core business of teaching and learning.”

In the S&P report, the rating agency said the district’s “ability to manage spending and accommodate enrollment growth in the face of a decreasing tax digest and ongoing state quality basic education aid reductions has enabled the district to maintain a good financial position.”

S&P’s Financial Management Assessment reported that the district’s management practices are strong.

GCPS Chief Financial Officer Rick Cost said these reports speak well of the district’s financial future.

“We all benefit from this,” Cost said. “The school district, taxpayers, and students, as we will be able to acquire the lowest interest rates possible on the sale of bonds, which translates into having more money available to go toward teaching and learning.”