The Richmond County Board of Education (RCBOE) issued $86.8 million in bonds to fund a series of improvements to the county’s schools.
The bonds mature between 2025 and 2027, yielding between 3.58% and 3.71%. They pay interest at 5%. The securities received enhanced ratings of AA+ from S&P Global Ratings and Aa1 from Moody’s Investors Service, which upgraded the board’s underlying rating to Aa3 from A1.
“The issuer rating upgrade to Aa3 reflects the Board of Education’s improved financial position following consistent operational surpluses that have materially improved reserves and liquidity,” Moody’s analysts wrote.
The issuance comes as the district makes long-planned improvements to its facilities as enrollment struggles to recover from a pandemic-induced drop. The bonds will finance the sixth phase of the school district’s capital improvement plan, which was first developed in 1995. The phase includes two new schools and ten renovations.
The proceeds “will be put to good use as we fund two new schools and other capital improvements for our school district,” Bobby Smith, the chief financial officer of the RCBOE, said in a press release.
The Richmond County School District enrolls almost 30,000 students in Augusta and its surrounding area. Enrollment remains about 1,000 students lower than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bonds are general obligations of the school district, payable by a sales tax and property taxes.
Raymond James & Associates, Inc served as underwriter on the issuance, purchasing the bonds for $89.6 million. The price reflected a premium of $3.3 million and a discount of $500,000.