Most school districts have managed to adopt budgets within the state’s property tax cap and have those spending plans approved by voters, largely without a negative impact on their credit ratings, a report released by Moody’s on Friday found.

The report examined the overwhelming passage of school district budgets statewide this month, noting that with only nine of the 700 or so districts not passing their spending plans the first time around is a “credit positive.”

Meanwhile, 18 districts overrode the limit on levy increases, with 11 succeeding.

With a record high rate of passage and with levy increases averaging only 1.6 percent statewide, Moody’s found this is part of a “growing reluctance” of district officials to risk a failure of the budget and try to override the cap.

“The number of districts attempting overrides is less than one-half the number that tried in fiscal 2013,” the report found. “Of the nine districts whose budgets did not pass, seven attempted to pierce the cap through an override.”

A cap override is also harder to pass: A budget with a levy higher than cap requires a supermajority in order to be approved.

The state’s tax cap was first approved in 2011. While tied to rent control regulations that are due to expire next month, the cap itself is not scheduled to sunset until next year.

Nevertheless, tax cap supporters want to make the measure a permanent one for local governments and school districts. Some Democratic lawmakers have raised the possibility of making some changes to the cap law, which limits increases in the amount collected in taxes to 2 percent or the rate of inflation.

Still, school districts have been able to continue budgeting within the cap without impacting their credit ratings. Moody’s found that since 2012, the number of downgrades among school districts has decreased, while the number of credit upgrades as actually increased.

From the report:

“While the constraints of the levy cap have challenged school district operations, most have managed without a significant impact on credit quality. Initial trends of districts appropriating greater portions of their reserves to balance budgets immediately following the implementation of the tax cap have started to subside and districts are generally able to balance operations without tax-cap overrides. As Exhibit 3 shows, upgrades outpaced downgrades in 2014 for the first time since the tax cap was implemented. Upgrades have so far outpaced downgrades in 2015 as well.”

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