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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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