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Saving Taxpayers Over $24 million, Peralta Community College District Issues $157.8 Million in General Obligation Bonds

21 June 2016

PCCD_AnnouncementOn the heels of its recent AAA credit rating from Fitch, the Peralta Community College District announced the successful sale of $157.8 million of general obligation bonds. The financing accomplished two goals for the District: Refinancing bonds previously issued by the District in 2007 and 2009; and producing $50 million for new and ongoing capital projects at the District’s four colleges – Berkeley City College, College of Alameda and Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland.

Peralta District Taxpayers will receive a significant savings benefit from the refinancing, totaling $24.7 million over the life of the bonds, through a reduction in their annual property tax assessments. The refinancing lowered total interest cost by a present value savings equal to 16.8% of the principal amount of the prior bonds. The refunding bonds carry a true interest cost of 2.9%, which is substantially lower than the 5.0% average interest rate of the prior bonds.

“We are pleased to be able to find ways to reduce the cost of our bonds that ultimately benefit our voters,” said Peralta Colleges Chancellor Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph.D. “We appreciate the work the bonds team has done to support our efforts on behalf of our citizens. We are grateful to our taxpayers for what they do to make Peralta a successful district in educating our citizens,” he added.

The 2016 general obligation bonds are rated “AAA” by Fitch Ratings and “Aa3” by Moody’s Investors Service.

Several firms comprised the District’s bond finance team. KNN Public Finance, LLC, served as Municipal Advisor for the transaction. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP served as Bond and Disclosure Counsel. The bonds were sold via negotiated sale, led by Citi as senior manager. RBC Capital Markets served as co-senior manager. Siebert Branford Shank and Backstrom McCarly Berry served as co-managers. Peralta’s Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, Ron Little, led the District’s efforts.

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Peralta Community College District Receives Top Bond Rating

5 May 2016

Ron Little

Fitch Ratings has assigned an “AAA” rating to the Peralta Community College District’s upcoming issuance of Refunding and New Money General Obligation Bonds. It is anticipated that these ratings will result in significant savings to the District’s taxpayers.

The “AAA” Rating takes into account the strong local economy, tax base and the District’s overlapping debt, as well as the District’s statutory lien on tax revenues.  Along with the rating, Fitch has assigned the District an “AA” Issuer Default Rating.  This rating takes into account the District’s operations and management, additional financial liquidity in addition to the local economy, tax base, and overlapping debt.

Fitch Ratings used a new rating methodology for general obligation bonds that resulted in the ‘AAA’ rating. Ron Little, Peralta’s Vice Chancellor, Finance & Administration (pictured), was an early advocate of this methodology when he served as CFO at the San Diego Unified School District. He and a team from Citi paved the way for its development.

“Vice Chancellor Little’s insights led to the right framework for our bond ratings at the Peralta Colleges, as well as for public schools statewide,” said Peralta Community College District Chancellor Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph.D.

“We are pleased that our rating will provide good returns for our voters and citizens,” Chancellor Laguerre added.

In addition to being the first California community college district with a AAA GO rating from Fitch under their special tax methodology, Peralta Colleges shares the distinction of receiving the highest Issuer Default Rating (IDR) for any K-14 district in California at AA.

The District worked with finance partners KNN Public Finance LLC, Citi and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP, to receive the rating.

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