On April 1, Homewood-Flossmoor High School received a AAA bond rating — the highest possible — from Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, elevating its AA+ rating from last year. It is the first time the district was awarded this rating in its 54 years, placing it among the ranks of high-profile school districts in the nation.
“There are so few districts in the country to receive this rating; it is really something special and denotes the hard work and dedication of many,” says Richard Lites, president of School District 233’s Board of Education. “The AAA rating truly puts our district in an elite class. Less than two percent of school districts in the nation receive a AAA rating by Standard & Poor’s: 69 in the nation, 23 in the state of Illinois.”
According to Standards & Poor’s, the upgraded rating was based upon the district’s participation in the diverse Chicago metropolitan area economy; its good financial management assessment; its strong cash reserves; its very strong fund balance; its very strong per capita wealth and median household effective buying income levels; and a moderate debt burden with limited future capital needs. The higher rating reflects Standard & Poor’s view of the district’s very strong financial position and anticipated sustained financial stability at current — if not higher — levels through fiscal year 2017.
“This rating will benefit Homewood-Flossmoor High School’s financial profile for the foreseeable future,” says Andrew Lindstrom, chairman of School District 233’s finance committee. “The rating allows us to get the lowest competitive interest rates for bond financing, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
To achieve the top rating, the district worked for years on strong financial planning, being good stewards of taxpayers’ money and having the fiscal discipline to stay the course, says Business Manager Ken Parchem.
“This tremendous accomplishment was truly a team effort,” says Parchem. “The good practices of the Board of Education, school administrators and staff members — paired with the support of our excellent community — have all been critical for this achievement.”