S&P Global Improves Orleans Parish School Board Credit Rating Outlook
OPSB Superintendent, Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.
NEW ORLEANS – Leading international credit rating agency S&P Global has issued a new report affirming the Orleans Parish School Board’s (OPSB) A+ rating and raising its outlook from stable to positive.
The report recognized OPSB’s strong reserves and good management practices and policies. The report notes that S&P Global may also consider a higher credit rating.
OPSB Superintendent, Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr., said that the report was welcome news.
“Our board and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure we have a balanced budget and are planning for the future,” he said. “This very positive report from a premier rating agency is another sign that we are on the right path and that our fiscal discipline is putting us in a great position.”
According to S&P Global, the positive outlook reflects the OPSB’s maintenance of very strong reserves and the agency’s confidence that the OPSB will continue this practice, along with good overall management of the budget. S&P Global also highlighted the OPSB’s low debt burden as a percentage of market value.
“This improved rating outlook is right in line with the work we’ve done these past years to improve the district’s financial health,” OPSB President John A. Brown, Sr. said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the results as we move towards unification of the district.”
The OPSB’s FY18 budget is balanced and will have no operating gap, reps said. It is also part of a multi-year plan to ensure one-time revenues support less than two percent of the budget and that the board pays off all long-term debt. Plus, in FY18 more than $2 million of new revenue will go to direct-run schools, changing a long standing policy where the OPSB central office was funded in part by dollars intended for schools. There is also now a dedicated funding stream for facilities maintenance, reps said.
The OPSB currently oversees 41 schools, including 37 charter schools, and one educational program for students in secure care facilities.