The Huntington School District is in a “robust” financial position according to a recently released report by Moody’s Investors Service. The district has a “negligible” debt burden and a “very healthy” tax base.
“We have worked exceptionally hard for many years to support our students’ interests and needs, while planning for the long-term and carefully managing expenditures,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “This has resulted in responsible budgets each year and considerable debt reduction over time. This has contributed to the strong Moody’s rating; something in which we continue to take great pride.”
District officials and Huntington School Board members have traditionally pursued a conservative budgeting philosophy, endeavoring to present realistic annual expenditure and revenue projections and seeking efficiencies wherever they can be found.
Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky. (Darin Reed photo.)
“Huntington UFSD has a very high quality credit position,” according to Moody’s. “Its Aa1 rating exceeds the media rating of Aa3 for US school districts. The notable credit factors include a very strong wealth and income profile, a substantial tax base and a robust financial position. It also reflects a negligible debt burden and a moderate pension liability.”
The “annual comment” from Moody’s is available to lenders who are interested in purchasing the district’s notes. Huntington UFSD has one of the lowest debt burdens of any Long Island district.
“Overall, the financial position of the district is very healthy and is a modest credit strength in comparison to its Aa1 rating,” according to Moody’s. “Huntington UFSD’s cash balance as a percent of operating revenues (29.4 percent) approximates the US median and increased slightly from 2013 to 2017.”
Moody’s also noted that the “debt burden of the district is exceptionally light and is slightly favorable in relation to the assigned rating of Aa1.” Huntington UFSD has kept its overall debt low by utilizing a capital reserve fund that relies on the transfer of surplus monies from the general fund. Voters approved creation of the fund. A prioritized list of repair and renovation projects is presented to residents each year for their approval.
“Overall, the district’s economy and tax base of the district are very healthy and are in line with assigned rating of Aa1,” Moody’s said. “The median family income equals a robust 167.8 percent of the US level. Additionally, Huntington UFSD’s full value per capita ($145,694) is much stronger than the US median and grew slightly from 2013-2017. However, the total full value ($5.3 billion) is considerable compared to other Moody’s-rated school districts nationwide.”
District residents passed a $126,213,223 spending plan for the 2017/18 school year by a vote of 962-219 last May 16. A proposition seeking release of $2.495 million from the Building Improvement Fund for various renovation and repair projects also sailed through, 1,022-148. A second capital reserve proposition to authorize the creation of a new Building Improvement Fund also passed by a vote of 998-176.