by. M. Utsuki, Contributing Writer, Citrus College
The credit rating of the Citrus Community College District was recently upgraded to the second highest level possible by one of the nation’s benchmark financial services companies.
In July 2020, Moody’s Investors Service raised the district’s credit rating from Aa2 to Aa1. This move signifies that the Citrus Community College District is financially sound and has adequate revenues and cash reserves to pay off its debts.
According to the final report issued by Moody’s, the district has demonstrated continued growth in its tax base and has a proactive management team that has positioned it to succeed under California’s new Student-Centered Funding Formula. In addition, the firm lauded the district’s conservative approach to budgeting and judged its financial outlook as strong.
“This upgraded credit rating serves as a validation of the college community’s hard work,” said Dr. Geraldine M. Perri, superintendent/president of Citrus College. “It is gratifying to have an organization such as Moody’s acknowledge our efforts to prudently manage financial resources while providing students with excellent academic opportunities.”
The news from Moody’s comes weeks after the board of trustees approved a plan to refinance outstanding voter-approved general obligation bonds under the district’s Measure G bond. Pursuant to the board’s action, Citrus College personnel provided comprehensive presentations to both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s (S&P).
“In addition to the Moody’s rating upgrade, the district’s S&P rating of AA was also reaffirmed,” explained Claudette E. Dain, vice president of finance and administrative services at Citrus College. “These ratings serve as a strong endorsement of our sound business practices and will translate into increased savings for local taxpayers through favorable refinancing results.”
Both agencies noted that the district is well-equipped to navigate the nation’s current pandemic and its resulting economic environment. In fact, Moody’s cited solid socioeconomic measures, a stable enrollment trend supported by significant out-of-district enrollment, and moderate debt and pension burden as reasons the Citrus Community College District will continue to maintain an acceptable financial profile.
“On behalf of the board of trustees, I extend my gratitude to the Citrus College community for working to ensure that district and community resources are effectively and efficiently managed,” said Dr. Patricia A. Rasmussen, president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees. “These positive bond ratings are the result of outstanding leadership, and refinancing will allow the college to save property owners money, while continuing to provide students and the community with outstanding programs and services.”