Moody’s Investors Service has assigned an Aa3 bond rating to the Glen Cove City School District. An Aa3 rating is the second highest rating that can be assigned to a public organization and is considered a “High Quality Investment Grade.”

The Aa3 designation represents an improvement from Glen Cove’s previous rating of A1. Moody’s cites several factors that contributed to the improved rating, including:

• Strong financial operations
• Steady reduction in debt burden
• Substantial tax base and economic growth

The Glen Cove City School District’s debt represents 0.2% of the district’s full value of $5.9 billion. This falls well below the median 1.9% median debt level for school districts throughout New York State. A bond rating is essentially a grade given to bonds that indicates their credit quality. Private independent rating services such as Moody’s, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch provide these evaluations of a bond issuer's financial strength, or its ability to pay a bond's principal and interest in a timely fashion. Proceeds from Glen Cove’s $3.5 million in previously approved school district serial bonds issued are being used for various capital improvement projects. There are no immediate plans for additional borrowing at this time.

“The recent elevation of our borrowing status is just one example of how together, we can achieve a common north,” said Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph A. Laria. “Our district has sound fiscal controls in place and continues to act responsibly with the precious taxpayer dollars provided. The Board and administration are working together to ensure long-term financial stability while continuing to provide a quality education for our students, improving it where we can.”

Moody’s cites two budgetary challenges faced by the district this year: a shortfall of interest earnings on investments based on the performance of financial markets and larger-than anticipated tax certiorari claims, the latter of which is unique to Glen Cove. Due to the alignment of the city and school district borders, Glen Cove is the only school system on Long Island required by law to fund tax grievances. While the district anticipates an increase in the number of tax certiorari grievances for next school year and is budgeting accordingly, legal counsel is retained to challenge and settle grievances, which saves between 2-3% of the potential costs annually.

Additionally, Glen Cove’s independent external auditor recently completed its end-of-the-year report, which reaffirmed that the district is in sound fiscal shape and in compliance with all New York State general accounting practices. The auditor will make a formal presentation to the Board of Education during a public Board meeting scheduled for November 22 at Connolly Elementary School.