An international credit rating agency says the Hernando County School District once again is maintaining high marks despite a poor economic outlook, a declining tax base and other budget challenges.
According to Fitch Ratings, a global credit ratings agency, the district earned an A+ rating under the Certificates of Participation category and an AA- rating under the outstanding GO Bonds.
The Certificates of Participation rating means the district overall has a positive general credit quality.
The AA- rating for the bonds is also considered a quality rating, but with some risk.
Superintendent Bryan Blavatt noted the ratings stayed the same as from 2011 and added that they give the district a greater potential to borrow money, should school board members and district officials deem it necessary.
"It's good news. Those ratings are exceptionally good, particularly considering the economy and what's going on around us," Blavatt said.
It's also for that reason that the district's rating outlook is negative. According to a letter from Fitch sent to Blavatt, the designation was due to falling property values and state level cuts.
It added that he and other officials should view it as good news that the district didn't earn a lower rating.
"While a negative outlook is not a good designation, it is the sign of the times and largely the result of several factors beyond the board's control," the letter reads.
Other reasons for the negative rating include the slow-growing economy and declining tax base.