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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns Aa3 UND & Aa2 ENH to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Independent School District 113, MN's GOULT bonds

28 Jun 2018

New York, June 28, 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned an underlying Aa3 rating and enhanced Aa2 rating to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Independent School District 113, MN's $3.5 million General Obligation Facilities Maintenance and Tax Abatement Bonds, Series 2018A. Moody's maintains a Aa3 rating on the district's outstanding general obligation (GO) debt.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The Aa3 underlying rating reflects a moderately sized tax base, healthy reserves, below average resident income indices and moderate leverage related to long-term debt and pension liabilities.

The Aa2 enhanced rating on the current bonds reflects the security provided by the State of Minnesota's School District Credit Enhancement Program (MSDE). The programmatic rating is notched once from the State of Minnesota's Aa1 GO rating to reflect sound program mechanics and the State of Minnesota's pledge of an unlimited appropriation from its General Fund should the district be unable to meet debt service requirements. The program's mechanics include a provision for third party notification of pending deficiency. If the school district does not transfer funds necessary to pay debt to the paying agent at least three days prior to the payment due date, the state will appropriate the payment to the paying agent directly.

RATING OUTLOOK

Outlooks are not usually assigned to underlying ratings of local governments with this amount of debt.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE

- Significant expansion and diversification in district's tax base coupled with continued growth in operating reserves and liquidity

- Upward movement in State of Minnesota's GO rating (enhanced)

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE

- Narrowing of operating reserves

- Significant growth in the district's fixed costs or leverage related to long-term debt and pension liabilities

- Downward movement in the State of Minnesota's GO rating (enhanced)

- Weakening of the MSDE program mechanics (enhanced)

LEGAL SECURITY

The district's GO bonds are secured by the district's pledge and authorization to levy a dedicated property tax unlimited as to rate and amount. The security benefits from a statutory lien, but there is no lockbox structure.

The bonds are additionally secured by the State of Minnesota's School District Credit Enhancement Program (MSDE) which provides for an unlimited advance from the state's General Fund should the district be unable to meet debt service requirements.

USE OF PROCEEDS

Proceeds will finance various deferred maintenance and health and safety projects, parking lot projects and repair projects for the district's current facilities.

PROFILE

The district is located in Cass and Hubbard Counties in northwestern Minnesota, approximately 120 miles north of the St. Cloud metropolitan area and 120 miles east of the Fargo (Aa1 stable)/Moorhead (Aa3) area. The district serves the cities of Akeley, Hackensack and Walker, in addition to all or a portion of 15 townships. The district encompasses approximately 455 square miles with a population of approximately 7,500 residents.

METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in the underlying rating was US Local Government General Obligation Debt published in December 2016. The principal methodology used in the enhanced rating was State Aid Intercept Programs and Financings published in December 2017. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Benjamin VanMetre
Lead Analyst
Regional PFG Chicago
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
100 N Riverside Plaza
Suite 2220
Chicago 60606
US
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Alexandra Parker
MANAGING DIRECTOR
Regional PFG Dallas
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office:
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JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

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