Ferndale School District Receives Credit Rating Upgrade; District Sells $39.97 Million of Bonds

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FERNDALE, WA - Ferndale School District sold $39,970,000 of tax-exempt bonds today to finance the first portion of the $112 million of bond projects approved by voters in February 2019. 

Dr. Linda Quinn, Superintendent of the District, said, “This is a great day for Ferndale. In addition to a successful bond sale, we are very proud to share that our strong financial track record and fiscal responsibility have earned the Ferndale School District a credit rating upgrade from Moody’s Investors Service. Thank you Ferndale voters for your faith in our District. The best is yet to come!”

As a result of a credit review for the District’s bond sale, Moody’s raised its long-term rating for the District to ‘Aa2’ from its previous rating of ‘Aa3’.  At the same time, Moody’s assigned the ‘Aa2’ bond rating to the 2019 Bonds.

With this upgrade, the District joins Bellingham as one of the two highest-rated school districts in Whatcom County. Only 8 of 138 Moody’s-rated school districts in the State of Washington have higher ratings.

Moody’s stated that the rating reflects their view of the District’s financial and economic profile, including:  

  • Notably strong reserves and liquidity;
  • A growing and diversifying local economy; and
  • Strong management and budgeting.

Mark Deebach, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Support Services of the District, said, “We are pleased that the rating agency recognizes the significant progress we have made over the past few years in building healthy reserves while prudently maintaining the District’s services and assets.”   

The rating upgrade helps the District obtain lower interest rates (than what the District may have been able to obtain at the prior rating) as the District issues bonds in 2019 and in the future.  

The District sold the tax-exempt 2019 Bonds on June 19, 2019, generating $47 million of funds to finance a portion of the extensive capital improvements District voters authorized, including replacement of Ferndale High School. The interest rate is 2.79%. 

D.A. Davidson & Co. in Seattle is serving as managing bond underwriter for the 2019 Bonds.

Superintendent Quinn said, “It is gratifying to be able to lock in interest rates near historical lows for our bond projects. The way that we have stewarded resources has made it possible to return great value to Ferndale voters and that is something we are very proud of.”