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Bond credit rating indicate confidence in NTPS (5/22/20)

Strong community support, healthy fund balance can help lower tax rates

Lacey, Wash., December 20, 2020 -- North Thurston Public Schools, the largest district in Thurston County with over 2,000 employees, received strong credit ratings from two notable investor services for the upcoming bond sales on June 2.

“Our positive credit ratings are a result of our manageable debt burden, a diversified and growing tax base, strong debt ratios, voter support, a positive relationship with employee groups and a healthy fund balance,” said Teena Barnes, Executive Director of Accounting/Financial Services. “It shows our investors have faith in our community and school system.”

Strong bond ratings from Moody’s (Aa2 stable) and from Standard and Poor’s (AA+) indicate confidence to investors and can lead to lower tax rates for voters. The current bond rate per $1,000 for NTPS is about $2.46.  Local voters approved a historical $275.2 million capital projects bond in February 2020. Major projects include modernization of Komachin Middle School and River Ridge High School, major upgrades to Horizons, Meadows and Seven Oaks elementary schools, and safety and security improvements.  

“It’s a win-win for our community because they get safe, quality learning environments which help property values, and lower tax rates due in part to our positive bond ratings,” said Monty Sabin, Assistant Superintendent of Operations. The bond sales go back to the district and are paid back over time by voters through property taxes they approved.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of our community! According to the Thurston Economic Development Council the 2020 Bond is estimated to create or sustain 2,573 jobs and $474.6 million in total economic production within Thurston County,” said Dr. Debra Clemens, Superintendent.

The underlying rating is based on many factors including:

  • the district's large tax base
  • a stable economy anchored by federal and state government employers
  • an average socioeconomic profile
  • adequate reserves
  • manageable debt burden

The district is in Thurston County, near the southernmost end of Puget Sound and primarily serves residents of the City of Lacey, as well as a small portion of the city of Olympia. The district has an estimated population of 107,582 and encompasses approximately 74 square miles. The District serves about 15,000 students as of 2020, and operates thirteen elementary schools, five middle schools, and four high schools.