Special ratings: Administrative efficiency

September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 4, 2010 at 7:14 AM EDT

By Business First of Buffalo - by G. Scott Thomas

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September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 4, 2010 at 7:14 AM EDT

Business First not only rates the academic performance of Western New York's 98 school districts, but also grades them in several specialized categories.

Among them is administrative efficiency.

Aim: Identify districts that have tight budgets and lean staffs, regardless of academic performance.

Formula: Each district is assessed in three areas: (1) spending per pupil, (2) ratio of pupils per administrative staffer, and (3) share of budget devoted to debt service. The best scores go to districts with low spending, high pupil-staffer ratios, and small amounts of debt service.

Note: Administrative efficiency is not the same as the cost-effectiveness rankings that will be released next week. This category reflects fiscal prudence, regardless of academic outcome. Cost-effectiveness links academic performance and spending.

Rankings: Districts are ranked on a five-star scale from most efficient (which receive five stars) to least efficient (one star). Each district's administrative efficiency rating is included in its profile in the printed version of Business First's 2010-2011 Guide to Western New York Schools.

Leader: Lancaster has the most efficient administration of any public school system in Western New York. It spends $11,600 per pupil, the least in the region. And its ratio of one administrative staffer for every 265.7 students is leaner than the corresponding figure for any district but Portville.

Go to buffalo.bizjournals.com to see the 98 districts rated from top to bottom in administrative efficiency with a database of the factors that determined each district's ranking.