A higher credit rating combined with the district's efforts to manage its finances efficiently paid off when Groveport Madison schools refinanced $8.2 million worth of construction bonds.

Obtaining a lower interest rate on the bonds -- used to build a new high school -- means the district will save nearly $832,000, Treasurer John Walsh said.

Walsh met with the investment group Ross, Sinclaire & Associates LLC on Nov. 7 to refinance the school facilities construction and improvement bonds from 2014.

He said district officials wanted to keep the refinancing to under $10 million because it "opens the investment pool to banks."

Over the life of the bond issuance, Walsh said, reducing interest charges from 5 percent to about 3.69 percent is expected to save $831,815 in "gross debt service."

Because Moody's credit rating service upgraded the district's rating from A3 to A2, Walsh said Groveport Madison was able to receive a lower interest rate for its construction bonds.

The district's credit rating is reviewed each year.

When Moody's reviews the district's credit rating, Walsh said, it asks for information about Franklin County, Madison Township, the city of Groveport and the village of Obetz.

It also asks questions about growth and development in the area, including housing and commercial properties, he said.

Walsh said other district-specific questions center on student growth, added programs, staffing and levy activity debt.

"We've been working very hard to implement strong financial controls and to manage resources we've been provided as efficiently and effectively as possible," he said.

Walsh said Groveport Madison has shown through its operations, tax-levy success and academic-program growth that it can "make improvements and strengthen our cash position today and in the future."

"The district's overall financial position is better," he said.

In addition to the financial controls put in place, Walsh said an improved economy and a strong bond market enabled the district to consider the refinancing.

In a news release, Superintendent Bruce Hoover said an upgrade in the district's credit rating "should indicate to the community that the school district is moving in a positive direction."

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