Standard and Poor’s, a well-recognized financial rating agency, has upgraded the North Bergen Board of Education’s bond rating from A+ to AA-.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“The one-notch upgrade reflects our view of the district’s improving economic metrics, specifically as a result of significant tax base growth following a revaluation and very strong reserves, coupled with the expectation that management will maintain positive operations and reserve levels while addressing modest pay-as-you-go capital needs,” the agency wrote.
“North Bergen BOE’s very strong financial position will anchor its credit quality during a transformational capital project for the district.”
The increase in the credit rating comes while the district is continuing its long-term reorganization plan, which includes renovation of the former High Tech High School into the new North Bergen Junior High School West Campus – as well as major upgrades at North Bergen High School and the district’s elementary schools.
The rating increase will likely lead to reduced interest costs for the district.
“This recognition from the financial industry is a tremendous achievement that will save taxpayers in lower interest costs on debt issued for educational improvements to the Township, savings which will ultimately be passed on to our residents as well,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Solter said in a statement.
“I want to thank our School Business Administrator Steven Somick and his team for all of their hard work and careful planning that has led to this result.”
Furthermore, the BOE’s AA- rating will give them access to lower interest rates than those afforded to borrowers with weaker ratings when bonding for major infrastructure projects.
“This is an exciting time for public education in North Bergen, with our new NBJHS West Campus set to open next year and major upgrades coming soon to our existing schools like expanded air conditioning, new windows, and more,” added state Senator (D-32)/Mayor Nick Sacco, also a retired school administrator.
“I commend Dr. Solter and the Board of Education for their solid financial management and we look forward to continuing to work with the district to deliver better educational facilities for our children while keeping property taxes stable.”
The development is welcome news for the school district after the New Jersey Comptroller’s Office was critical of their public fund spending last week.