Secretary of Finance Announces Successful Bond Sale

Finance Secretary Rick Geisenberger today announced that the State closed on the sale of $250 million in triple-A-rated general obligation bonds in last week’s bond sale. This was the second bond sale within four months.

“New federal tax policy eliminates the State’s ability to ‘advance’ refund its general obligation bonds for savings, so, in November, we took advantage of an opportunity to capture refunding savings of $4.7 million,” said Secretary Geisenberger. Last week’s sale of $250 million will fund capital projects including new schools in the Appoquinimink, Caesar Rodney and Laurel school districts, improvements to many other public schools as well as museums and the Port of Wilmington. These and many other capital projects are authorized by the General Assembly in the annual bond bill.

With triple-A ratings recently reaffirmed by Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings, and Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, Delaware’s bonds were well received even in the recent volatile marketplace. The sale brought interest from a variety of investors, including bond funds, insurance companies, bank portfolios and separately managed accounts.

Delaware receives highest federal rating for special education services

Delaware earned the highest rating possible from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in its evaluation of the state’s special education services. The top marks come just three years after Delaware had received a “needs intervention” rating, the second-lowest.

“I am proud of the progress our state has made.  Led by our school districts and charter schools, their collective efforts are reflected in this rating,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said. “Although more work remains, this is confirmation that we are continuing to move in the right direction.”

For the past two years Delaware received the second-highest rating, “needs assistance,” falling just shy last year of earning the top “meets requirements” rating earned this year. In each of the past three years, Delaware’s scores reflected progress: Delaware moved from an overall grade of 53 percent in 2014 to 68 percent in 2015 and to 76 percent in 2016. This year, Delaware scored 83 percent.

This year’s evaluation, based on school data from the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years, takes into account the following improvements Delaware made to special education since earning the “needs intervention” rating in 2013. That rating had been based on performance data from the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years.

For the past three years, Delaware has:

  • Provided professional learning for special education teachers on standards-based Individual Education Plans (IEPs), positive behavior supports and accessing the general curriculum.
  • Included special education teachers in all trainings related to the state’s academic standards.
  • Assisted districts and charters schools in developing transition plans for students with disabilities who are 14 years old or entering the eighth grade to help them succeed in jobs or further education.  The state has been collecting data to ensure those plans are being prepared and carried out.
  • Clarified for districts and charters the policies requiring students with disabilities to take the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and state assessments to ensure the state has full information on the progress of these students.
  • Provided districts and charter schools with comprehensive data on their performance to help local leaders better understand how well they are complying with state and federal law and how their students with disabilities are performing academically.
  • Provided targeted state technical assistance to those districts and charter schools found to be in need of assistance and intervention.

In addition, the Delaware Department of Education has completed year three of Delaware’s IDEA State Systemic Improvement Plan focusing on improving literacy in grades K-3 for all students including students with disabilities and English learners.  To implement this plan, the Delaware Early Literacy Initiative was established to support districts and charters in providing a robust multi-tiered system of academic supports for literacy.  Cohort I began in Fall 2017 and included Thomas Edison Charter School and Cape Henlopen’s Milton and HO Brittingham elementary schools.  During the 2017 – 2018 school year, the Department of Education will continue working with Cohort I schools as well as partnering with new schools for Cohort II. 

Woodbridge School District is among those districts and charters that made strong progress this year.

Woodbridge Superintendent Heath Chasanov points to regular data review meetings in which a team of staff members look at a variety of indicators reflective of children’s academic, social and behavioral needs. Team members talk about what is going well and what changes need to be made – tomorrow.

“It’s real-time conversations,” he said.

Media Contact: Alison May,, (302) 735-4099

Delaware Earns Universal Triple-A Credit Rating

Delaware has received a triple-A credit rating from all three major rating agencies – the highest mark a government agency can achieve. Highlighting the state’s fiscally responsible approach, Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings, and Standard & Poor’s Rating Services have recognized the state’s strong fiscal practices, as well as the strength of Delaware’s economy and labor market.

“These reports affirm our progress in strengthening Delaware’s economy, while budgeting responsibly,” said Governor Jack Markell. “Recognition of Delaware as one of the top rated states shows Delaware is well-positioned for continued success. However, our work is never finished. We must continue efforts to prepare our workers with the skills they need to compete for jobs, foster a nurturing environment for businesses to start and expand in the state, and ensure our budget is sustainable for years to come.”

The reports take into account expected workforce reductions in the first quarter of 2016 due to the DuPont merger with Dow Chemical, but cite positive trends and continued growth in other employment areas – including business services, financial activities, education, health, leisure and hospitality.

In its analysis, Standard and Poor’s pointed to Delaware’s “diverse economy,” “strong financial and budget management,” “consistently strong general fund reserves,” “moderate overall debt burden,” and “well-funded pension system.”

Delaware has now earned the top rating from all agencies for the past 16 years, including through the recent economic recession and ongoing recovery.

“Delaware has maintained its triple-A ratings through some challenging economic cycles – in large measure due to our disciplined adherence to responsible fiscal practices and focus on economic development,” said Secretary of Finance Thomas J. Cook. “Even through the Great Recession, this administration has maintained the highest possible credit ratings through strong financial management and fiscal discipline, while improving our business climate. The confirmation of our rating will translate to the lowest cost of capital, permitting greater investment in the essential infrastructure that is essential to attracting new business and spurring job creation.”


Leslie A. Poland
Public Information Officer
Delaware Department of Finance
(302) 577-8522

Credit Rating Agencies Affirm Delaware’s Triple-A Rating

Bond agencies continue to measure Delaware’s credit risk favorably

In their review for the state’s upcoming bond sale, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, Fitch Ratings, and Moody’s Investors Service have all awarded Delaware a triple-A credit rating, the highest rating possible. All three ratings agencies highlight Delaware’s financial history and responsible governance in their reports. S&P attributed the state’s continued credit stability to Delaware’s prudent fiscal management and healthy reserves, while Moody’s said Delaware is in a strong position relative to its peers. The State has proudly received triple, triple-A ratings since 2000, managing to maintain that status even through the Great Recession and a challenging national economy.

“These ratings affirm the success we have had in addressing our budget challenges while adhering to high standards of fiscal responsibility,”  Governor Markell said. “This announcement means taxpayers will continue to benefit from lower costs for important projects that create jobs and improve quality of life in our state, including construction at schools, libraries and other facilities. There is more work to do to strengthen Delaware’s economy, but we are on the right track.”

The ratings were released as the state prepares to take bids on $225 million in general obligation bonds on Thursday, February 27th.  The bonds will be sold to finance capital construction projects, for example, school projects in Laurel, Smyrna, Red Clay and Woodbridge, libraries in Wilmington, Claymont, Lewes and Greenwood, a new state police troop and various other projects that improve the quality of life in Delaware.  The triple-A rating reflects a low credit risk which minimizes the return investors demand and minimizes the cost of these capital projects for Delawareans.

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Angela Moffett-Batty
Community Relations Coordinator
Delaware Department of Finance