For Second Consecutive Year, Sayville School District
Maintains Moody’s Top Rating of Aa1
Moody's Investors Service gave Sayville School District the excellent bond rating of Aa1 for a second consecutive year. This rating not only endorses the District’s “sound fiscal management and solid fiscal position,” it also serves to reduce Sayville School District’s borrowing and debt service costs. In the most recent report, Moody offered some of the reasons why Sayville’s top rating continues to hold:
“The district's financial position is strong and stable, with a sustained record of operational balance driven by conservative budgeting. While the district's debt and pension burdens are above average for the rating category, fixed costs are manageable.” The Moody report also cites Sayville’s “Strong and stable financial position with sound liquidity and reserves,” among the factors earning the School District this high rating.
The Moody Report summarizes it analysis of Sayville School District accordingly:
“Management is strong, with a history of conservative budgeting and proactive debt management that has kept fixed costs manageable,” while taking into consideration the financial imperatives under which school district operates. “The district finished 2017 with 30.4% available fund balance to operating revenues and 35.4% cash to operating revenues, achieving a modest surplus for its third consecutive year of operational balance. The primary revenue source is property taxes, at 66.3% of 2017 revenues, and management has a history of stable levy increases within the New York State property tax cap.”
As a result of such a favorable credit rating, the district benefited from a low-interest rate on the recent sale of District Bond and Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs).
(To review the full report online, go to: Moody's Final Credit Opinion 2018 Report)
State Aid reductions began in 2009, but Sayville has weathered through the economic challenges and emerges as stable as ever. Over the past years, the Proposed Budgets have been under the Tax Levy Cap [emphasis added] and have reduced spending while at the same time maintained, restored, and enhanced programs that benefit our students.
This year, due to a modest increase in the Town of Islip’s Assessed Valuations and a shift in Base Allocations from Non-homestead to Homestead, Sayville School District’s tax rate would have gone up from 2.24% (the projected rate in May) to 3%. However, because Sayville School District Administrators and Board of Education are committed to holding the line at the 2.24% tax-rate increase which had been projected in May, the Board approved at the September 13th BOE Business meeting to use an additional $434,000 of Fund Balance Reserves to offset this increase. Therefore the tax-rate increase remains at 2.24%.
Moody’s credits the District’s forward-looking fiscal planning for achieving this high rating. Receiving this Aa1 rating is validation of the long-range planning by Sayville District Business Office Assistant Superintendent John J. Belmonte who has spearheaded fiscal operations since 1999. In addition, the Aa1 rating acknowledges the involvement of all Sayville District Administrators, faculty and staff, along with the Board of Education members and Sayville residents who have continually given their support to cost-saving measures.
Sayville’s Board of Education and Administrative team continue to find ways to reduce costs and keep taxes low, while simultaneously enhancing educational opportunities for our students. We are happy this Moody’s report reaffirms the district’s philosophy of providing educational excellence for all our students while managing its fiscally responsible spending plan.