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ST. CHARLES PARISH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 (LOUISIANA) GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS RATED 'A' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

ST. CHARLES PARISH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 (LOUISIANA) GENERAL OBLIGATION
 BONDS RATED 'A' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- St. Charles Parish School District No. 1, La.'s $14.9 million General Obligation School bonds, Series 1992 are rated "A" by Fitch. The bonds are selling competitively on March 18. Strong finances, above average income levels, and scheduled tax base growth due to the expiration of industrial exemptions are positive considerations. However, heavy property tax base concentrations will remain. Enrollment increases should continue as construction of a new interstate connector linking the district to New Orleans, affordable housing, and a good school system should result in further development and population growth. The credit trend is stable.
 The school district encompasses the entire St. Charles Parish, which is part of the New Orleans metropolitan area. The district's population is estimated at 42,437. Enrollments have risen by 13 percent since 1986 and are projected to increase by 5 percent to 6 percent over the next three years. The median household income of $29,727 in 1990 is above state and national levels. State aid represents 44 percent of total revenues and sales and use taxes 33 percent of the total. Sales taxes have shown volatility in the past, subject to construction and economic cycles impacting the petrochemical industry located in the parish.
 Property taxes account for less than 20 percent of the district's general fund revenue base. However, the top ten property tax payers comprise 62 percent of the taxable assessed valuation. Union Carbide, Shell, and the Louisiana Power & Light Co. are the largest property taxpayers as well as leading employers. The electric utility's Waterford III nuclear power plant will lose its property tax exemption in 1996, resulting in a doubling of the property tax base. The expiration of exemptions on many of the petrochemical plants also will enhance the tax base over the next 5-10 years.
 Financial management is conservative and, as a result, actual operating results are better than budgeted. The large $9.4 million unreserved general fund balance in fiscal 1990-91 represents 23 percent of revenues. Overall debt is above average at $2,277 per capita, but a more moderate 3.8 percent burden on the large market value of property. This debt issuance will fund improvements to provide additional student capacity that should be adequate for at least the next four years.
 -0- 3/12/92
 /CONTACT: Stewart Simon of Fitch, 212-908-0508/ CO: St. Charles Parish School District No. 1 ST: Louisiana IN: SU: RTG


TQ -- NY056 -- 7474 03/12/92 14:39 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 12, 1992
Words:431
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