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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades PA school district enhancements to cap of Baa1; outlook negative

22 Dec 2015

NOTE: On December 3, 2018, the press release was corrected as follows: At the end of the press release, Orlie Prince was added as the second contact. Revised release follows.

New York, December 22, 2015 -- Summary Rating Rationale

Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the school district enhancement programs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Aa3 negative) to Baa1, and changed our approach to rating pre-default enhancement programs in the commonwealth.

As a result of this action, the enhanced rating on any Pennsylvania school district bond will be the district's underlying rating plus one notch, subject to a floor rating of B1 and a ceiling rating of Baa1. This approach applies both to school district bonds enhanced on a post-default basis (meaning transactions not designed to ensure debt service is paid on time) and on a pre-default basis (meaning transactions for which a structure is designed to ensure debt service is paid on time). This action resolves a review for downgrade first initiated on September 10.

The B1 floor on the enhanced ratings communicates our expectation for full recovery for all Pennsylvania school districts, even in instances when the enhancement programs fail to prevent default in the first place.

As a result of this action, most enhanced ratings in Pennsylvania are downgraded, either because they are at the new Baa1 cap (downgraded from A3) or because they formerly were rated at the pre-default programmatic rating and are now rated under the bottom-up approach. There are 10 exceptions, which are districts whose post-default ratings were already under what is now the Baa1 cap. For these 10 districts, the enhanced ratings are confirmed.

Please click on the following link to access the full list of affected credit actions: http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBM_PBM186830

Rating Outlook

All enhanced ratings in Pennsylvania carry a negative outlook. The negative outlook is based both on the outlook for the commonwealth and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding its ability to fund the intercept programs during budget stalemates.

Factors that Could Lead to an Upgrade

Consistent track record of timely budgets

Clearer plan for provision of payments in absence of a state budget

Upgrade of commonwealth's or school districts' underlying ratings

Factors that Could Lead to a Downgrade

Failure to make debt service payments for defaulted school district bonds

Downgrade of commonwealth's or school districts' underlying ratings

Further delays in budget approval that hinder school districts' ability to pay debt service

Legal Security

The PA School District Enhancement Programs are underpinned by Section 633 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. That statute requires the commonwealth to redirect a school district's aid to bondholders in the event the district misses a debt service payment.

Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

Obligor Profile

The primary obligor for all enhanced school district bonds is the school district.

Methodology

The principal methodology used in these ratings was State Aid Intercept Programs and Financings: Pre and Post Default published in July 2013. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

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 rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular 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.

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only. Please see the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com, for each of the ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the lead analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings.

The person who approved the Pennsylvania School District Enhancement Issuer level ratings is Orlie Prince, VP-Senior Analyst/Manager, Public Finance Group, Journalists Tel: 212-553-0376, Subscribers Tel: 212-553-1653.

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.

Jennifer Diercksen
Lead Analyst
Regional PFG Northeast
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street
New York 10007
US
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Orlie Prince
Additional Contact
Regional PFG Northeast
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Dan Seymour
Lead Analyst
State Ratings
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

No Related Data.
© 2019 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.

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