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Buffalo school district gets upgraded bond rating

In a bright spot for Buffalo school finances, Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the district's bond rating to Aa3 and revised its outlook for the district from "stable" to "positive."

The rating upgrade makes it cheaper for for the school district to borrow money for projects. The higher the credit rating, the lower the perceived risk to investors, which allows the district to gain a more favorable borrowing rate.

This positive development has less to do with the fiscal health of the Buffalo school district and more to do with the state's fiscal health, but we'll take good news wherever we can find it.

The district's Aa3 bond rating reflects high-level creditworthiness. The rating currently affects $13.9 million in refinanced school district borrowing. The rating improvement is tied to the state's creditworthiness because the district is using state aid to pay off the bonds, said Chief Financial Officer Barbara Smith. When the state's bond rating was recently upgraded, so was the Buffalo school district's.

Moody's bond rating scale ranges from Aaa, reflecting the highest-quality bonds, down to C, which reflects lowest-quality bonds that are typically in default.

Moody's upgraded the school district's bond rating in August of last year from A1 to Aa3, meaning school district bonds went from being considered "upper-medium" grade bonds to "high-quality" bonds. At that time, the district's Aa3 rating included a "stable" outlook from Moody's. On October 29 of this year, Moody's reaffirmed the Aa3 bond rating  but changed the rating outlook from "stable" to "positive."

-- Sandra Tan

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | djgee@buffnews.com


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | tlankes@buffnews.com


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | stan@buffnews.com


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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