SAN MARCOS (March 22, 2017) – The Palomar Community College District has received upgraded and affirmed bond ratings from both Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s) and Standard & Poor’s Global (S&P).
Moody’s increased its bond rating from an AA2 to an AA1, while S&P increased its bond rating from an AA- to an AA. This is the first time the District has been rated this high by both credit rating agencies.
According to both Moody’s and S&P, the bond rating upgrades are a result of the District’s improved financial position and consistent healthy reserves outside the General Fund, huge North San Diego County tax base, strong management team and growing student enrollment. Both reports also noted that “the forward picture is solid – the right sizing year is underpinned by a credible plan and the first year of rebuilding (2016/2017) looks good and will be reinforced by the new centers coming online.”
Palomar College President Dr. Joi Lin Blake credits the favorable reports on the work the District has undertaken to increase enrollment and to enhance financial reporting. “The team in the District’s Finance and Administrative Services division, under the leadership of Vice President Ron Ballesteros-Perez and Director of Fiscal Services Carmen Coniglio, has worked diligently to produce the outstanding results from Moody’s Investors Services and Standard & Poor’s. This same team also received an unmodified 2015/2016 Financial Audit for both its District Finances and its Measure M General Obligation Bond Program earlier this year. Their professionalism and commitment to the Palomar College community is a true asset.”
The District issues bonds for major capital improvements to finance costs over time. The upgraded bond ratings impact the interest rate at which the District borrows money thus benefiting local taxpayers. With favorable interest rates, the planned bond refunding is estimated to save property owners an estimated $24.6 million in actual debt service on their tax bills over the life of the bonds.
Palomar College plans to issue its final new bonds totaling $139 million as authorized in 2006 for Proposition M, which was approved for $694 million by the district’s local taxpayers. The income from the bond measure has provided construction on more than twenty-one projects on the 200-acre San Marcos campus; a remodel of the Palomar Escondido Education Center and infrastructure and accessibility projects district-wide. Additionally, the District has purchased a building and parking structure on a 27-acre site in Rancho Bernardo, as well as 81 acres in Fallbrook. These two sites are the future homes of the South Education Center and the North Education Center respectively; both are scheduled to open in Summer 2018.
Palomar Community College District serves the residents within 2,500-square-miles of North San Diego County and is one of the largest community college districts in the state. The College serves more than 30,000 students annually; the full-time equivalent student count in 2017 is projected to be 18,203. The District operates a main campus in San Marcos, an education center in Escondido, and four additional education sites on US Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, in Fallbrook, Pauma, and at Mt. Carmel High School in the community of Rancho Peñasquitos
# # #
Laura Gropen, Public Affairs Office Director, 760-744-1150 x2152
Melinda Finn, Public Affairs Office Communications Specialist, 760-744-1150 x2365