Frugal School Districts that Make the Grade

February 21, 2013 Updated Feb 21, 2013 at 8:38 AM EDT

By G. Scott Thomas, Business First

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February 21, 2013 Updated Feb 21, 2013 at 8:38 AM EDT

The Lancaster Central School District is the most frugal school system in Western New York, based on the latest data from the New York State Education Department.

Lancaster spent $12,894 per pupil in 2011, the most recent year for which official figures are available. That's 5 percent less than the runner-up, Frontier, which spent $13,606 per student.

Rounding out the top five are Royalton-Hartland ($13,995 per student), Iroquois ($14,542) and Clarence ($14,551).

Find a slideshow of district spending here:

Http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2013/02/20/lancaster-spends-the-least-of-any-wny.html?s=image_gallery

The slideshow runs from from the highest to the lowest spending per pupil. Each slide also shows a district's total expenditures for 2011, as well as the share of expenditures devoted to central administration, teacher salaries, transportation and debt service. (Percentages will not add to 100 because other types of expenditures are not listed.)

Average spending by all school districts across the state was $20,410 per pupil in 2011.

Belfast, a district in Allegany County, posted Western New York's highest rate of spending ($66,271 per student), though the figure comes with an asterisk.

Belfast paid off a bond anticipation note for a building project, an action that causes a temporary spike in the State Education Department's expenditure calculations.

Ripley, Scio, West Valley and Chautauqua Lake also rank among the five top spenders in Western New York.