Western New York's leanest school operation can be found in Lancaster, according to Business First's new rankings of administrative efficiency.
The Lancaster Central School District spends the least per pupil ($12,821) and has the largest student-administrator ratio (274.1 pupils per administrative staffer) in the eight-county region.
"You have to watch expenses," says Edward Myszka, Lancaster's superintendent. "And we do, even when it comes to keeping costs down for materials and supplies, or curtailing participation in out-of-state conferences."
Frontier and Williamsville rank second and third in the administrative efficiency standings. Rounding out the top five are Hamburg and North Tonawanda.
Business First's three-part rating formula is designed to determine which Western New York school districts have the tightest budgets and leanest staffs, regardless of academic performance.
The best rankings go to districts with low spending rates per pupil, high ratios of students per administrative staffer (a group that includes principals, assistant principals and district-office employees), and small percentages of their budgets committed to debt service.
The ratings cover all 98 districts in Western New York, a region that includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
Belfast has the lowest rating for administrative efficiency, partly because its spending rate ($43,698 per pupil) is the highest in the eight-county region. That figure was inflated because Belfast paid off a bond anticipation note for a building project, resulting in a one-year increase in listed expenditures.
Also in the bottom five in Business First's ratings are Pine Valley, Whitesville, Forestville and Ripley.
You can get the full report on administrative efficiency at: