Manatee schools' Fitch bond ratings downgraded due to deficit

ejohnson@bradenton.comFebruary 1, 2013 

MANATEE -- Due to the Manatee schools' fiscal year deficit of $3.4 million, the district's Fitch Rating Outlook has been downgraded from "stable" to "negative," according to an email sent Friday from schools CFO Michael Boyer.

The lower ratings mean the district likely will have to pay higher interest rates on its debt.

Ratings for general obligation bonds, certificates of participation and sales tax revenue bonds were affected. However, fiscal year 2012-13 will not be impacted due to fixed rates, the email states.

The downgraded ratings are as follows:

• Implied general obligation (GO) bond rating from A+ to BBB+

• $213.8 million of certificates of participation from A to BBB

• $24.5 million of sales tax revenue bonds, series 2003 and 2005, from A+ to BBB+

• The Rating Outlook from stable to negative

Under direction of interim superintendent David Gayler and Boyer, a series of software programs are being implemented that monitor employee positions, payroll encumbrances and requisitions, the email states.

"Going forward it is of ultra-importance that the district continues (the) course to correct the situation and return to a more stable financial position or risk further rating downgrades and higher borrowing rates," Boyer writes.

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