Credit Rating Agencies Eye School Funding Debate

By: Associated Press - Posted by Suzie Gilbert
By: Associated Press - Posted by Suzie Gilbert

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Credit rating agencies are keeping an eye on the legislative debate in Kansas over funding of K-12 schools as more districts dip into reserve funds to offset state cuts.

The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/KAX5ml) reports Gardner-Edgerton school district in Johnson County recently had its debt rating reduced from AA- to A+ after it wiped out its reserve fund of $3.3 million.

Analyst Sarah Smaardyk of Standard & Poors says the amount of reserves plays a major role in the bond rating her company assigns to a district.

Smaardyk says there has been a trend over the past couple of years of districts drawing down their reserves in response to cutbacks by the state.

Republican House Speaker Mike O'Neal says data indicate school district cash reserves are growing, not shrinking.


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