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District 65 debt rating improves

Evanston-Skokie School District 65 has announced that it’s moved up another notch in its effort to improve the ratings of its bond debt.

The school district, which a decade ago had bond ratings from Moody’s Investors Services of "A3," now has moved up five notches to "Aa1," just one step below the top-level "Aaa" rating.

Evanston-Skokie School District 65 has announced that it’s moved up another notch in its effort to improve the ratings of its bond debt.

The school district, which a decade ago had bond ratings from Moody’s Investors Services of "A3," now has moved up five notches to "Aa1," just one step below the top-level "Aaa" rating.

Moody’s says "Aaa" debt has "minimal" credit risk, while "A"-rated debt has "low" credit risk. Debt rated lower than that is considered to be of speculative quality.

Any increase in credit risk tends to increase the interest rate that borrowers have to pay, raising the ultimate cost of the borrowing to taxpayers.

Moody’s website  (registration required) indicates that the rating upgrade was actually issued last September, but District 65 Communications Director Pat Markham says she didn’t announce the change until now because she hadn’t received written confirmation of the upgrade.

Moody’s says it believes the districts debt burden "will remain extremely manageable" because the district "has limited capital needs."

School Board President Keith Terry says, “Moody’s acknowledgement of a fiscally sound and well-managed school district directly benefits the taxpayers in this community. An improved bond rating helps the district secure much-needed capital spending dollars at very competitive interest rates.”

The City of Evanston, the Village of Skokie, School District 202 and Northwestern University all currently have Moody’s highest "Aaa" debt rating.

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