In a special called meeting Wednesday, the Gwinnett County Board of Education moved forward with its general obligation bond approved by voters in November. AJC file photo

Gwinnett County school board moves forward with bonds

At a special called meeting Wednesday, the Gwinnett County Board of Education approved the adoption of a bond resolution and associated documents authorizing the issuance and sale of Series 2019 General Obligation Bonds. Although the voters approved $350 million in November, this round is for $173,355,000.

“It’s not unusual to sell portions at a time,” said spokeswoman Sloan Roach.

The sale of these bonds will go directly toward capital improvement projects including construction of a new high school in the Mill Creek cluster, facility additions and renovations, technology upgrades, and other projects included in the bond referendum approved by voters.

The referendum bond sailed through with 78 percent of the 294,107 votes cast.

In preparing for the sale of the bonds, the school district’s bond ratings were reviewed and reaffirmed at the highest level (Aaa) with a stable outlook by both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service, according to the school district.

Gwinnett County Public Schools is one of only two school districts in Georgia to hold a “Aaa” bond rating from both Moody’s and S&P. Currently, only 24 school districts nationwide have earned this fiscal stamp of approval from both bond rating agencies, they said. 

“Our Board of Education and the employees of the school district take our responsibility to be the best stewards of taxpayer funds very seriously,” said Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. “The reaffirmation of the district’s Aaa bond rating and the impact it has on the sale of bonds is noteworthy for our community. It positions us to deliver on promises made to our stakeholders while also serving as further evidence of our school district’s financial stewardship over time.” 

According to the bond rating firms, Gwinnett County Public Schools’ favorable bond ratings are based on its strong financial management. Moody’s indicated its rating was based on the district’s sound reserve position; its use of SPLOST revenue for debt service; and its large, diverse tax base. S&P added that its rating reflects its opinion on the district’s manageable debt burden and its strong financial position aided by very strong management practices and a demonstrated ability to manage through economic downturns.

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