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Rating Action:

Moody's withdraws Arkansas School District Enhancement Program's rating in conjunction with release of new methodology

27 Sep 2013

New York, September 27, 2013 -- Moody's has assigned enhanced ratings for 9 issuers and withdrawn enhanced ratings on 222 issuers participating in the Arkansas School District Enhancement Program in conjunction with the release of the revised methodology, "State Aid Intercept Programs and Financing: Pre and Post Default." At this time, Moody's has also withdrawn the programmatic rating on the Arkansas School District Enhancement Program.

SUMMARY RATINGS RATIONALE

The enhanced ratings reflect Moody's assessment of each issuer participating in the Arkansas School District Enhancement Program pursuant to the methodology, "State Aid Intercept Programs and Financings: Pre and Post Default." Credit considerations include availability of funds, timing of state aid payments, state aid trend, strength of notification requirement, and timing between notification and intercept. Additional credit factors include a debt service coverage ratio and the underlying ratings, or lack of underlying ratings of the individual school districts.

The methodology relies on a public underlying rating to assign or maintain an enhanced rating. The withdrawal of enhanced ratings of 222 issuers participating in the Arkansas School District Enhancement Program reflects the lack of underlying ratings on the districts.

The withdrawal of the Arkansas School District Enhancement Program's Aa3 rating and the enhanced ratings of 222 participating issuers is based on the new bottom-up rating approach, as published in the revised methodology for post-default state aid intercept programs and financings. The methodology uses the credit quality of the issuer as the basis for ratings enhanced by post-default programs; the former methodology notched down from the rating of the sponsoring state. As a result enhanced ratings are notched up from underlying ratings. Since the ratings for post-default programs will be maintained at the issuer or sale level, Moody's will no longer maintain programmatic ratings on the post-default programs in five states, including the Arkansas School District Enhancement Program.

Please click this link to access the List of Affected Credit Ratings. This list identifies each affected sale:

http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBM_PBM158867

STRENGTHS

* No recent history of late state budgets or mid-year payment deferrals to school districts

* Solid trend of state aid and state aid payments

* Financing level documents typically charge a trustee with notifying the state of a default, although this is not required at the programmatic level

CHALLENGES

* Unclear program timing and mechanics

OUTLOOK

An issuer's enhanced rating will carry the outlook of the issuer or the state depending on where the enhanced rating is relative to the "state rating cap." School districts with enhanced ratings that are above the cap will carry the outlook of the state; school districts with enhanced ratings at the state cap will carry the "lower" outlook and those with enhanced ratings below the cap will carry the outlook related to their underlying ratings. Currently the state of Arkansas is rated Aa1 with a stable outlook; any downward movement on Arkansas' rating will result in downward movement of the enhanced ratings at Aa3 as they are currently at the cap. Similarly, movement of the state's outlook will also affect the outlook of the enhanced ratings.

WHAT COULD MAKE THE ENHANCED RATING GO UP

-An upgrade of the district's underlying rating

-An upgrade of the state of Arkansas' rating

WHAT COULD MAKE THE ENHANCED RATING GO DOWN

-A downgrade of the state of Arkansas' rating

-A downgrade of the district's underlying rating

Moody's has withdrawn the rating because it believes it has insufficient or otherwise inadequate information to support the maintenance of the rating. Please refer to the Moody's Investors Service's Policy for Withdrawal of Credit Ratings, available on its website, www.moodys.com.

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in this rating 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.

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.

James Hobbs
Analyst
Public Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
600 North Pearl Street
Suite 2165
Dallas, TX 75201
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Orlie Prince
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Public Finance Group
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

Moody's withdraws Arkansas School District Enhancement Program's rating in conjunction with release of new methodology
No Related Data.
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