CVCS, PVCS Score Highly On Ratings In Business First

Although the academic performance of school districts is often highly scrutinized, Buffalo Business First is also providing insight as to how districts rate in other areas.

Throughout the week, Business First has released the standings of 429 Upstate New York school districts within five separate categories, offering a more complete picture of their efficiency.

According to G. Scott Thomas, projects editor, Business First has been compiling its rankings for Western New York for the past 22 years, while recently expanding its rankings to include Upstate New York. Thomas said the expansion to include upstate districts provides a broader context for comparison.

While Business First does release annual reports compiling data on test scores and academic performance, Thomas said the categories included in this week’s release are known as, “specialized ratings.”

“What we’re trying to do with specialized ratings is look at areas besides academic performance,” Thomas said. “(The ratings) give people an idea of how their districts stack up in different ways. The aim here is really to say, ‘There are other things to look at besides test scores, so here are some more things you might want to consider.'”

The specialized ratings were released one category at a time – one for every day of the week – and illustrate how individual districts are faring in other areas crucial to their overall efficiency. The categories include: student access, which looks at the amount of ease students have in connecting with teachers, aides and counselors; teacher pay, which is based on an analysis of salary levels at five selected points in a teacher’s career; teacher experience, based on an analysis of the career lengths of all full-time teachers in a district; administrative efficiency, based on an analysis of district spending, staffing levels and debt service; and socioeconomic climate, based on a study of individual districts’ poverty rates.

While the ratings provide for a comprehensive and useful point of comparison, certain criteria are taken into heavier consideration than others. One area that carries considerable weight in the compilation of the ratings is each district’s tax base. The ratings tend to favor districts with a large and thriving tax base, while districts with a smaller, more tax-exempt tax base are often found to be ranked lower.

In general, the majority of districts in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties were outranked by districts in more populated and financially solvent counties. However, in some categories, an area district was able to crack the top 10 percent, which equivalates to a five-star rating. These instances included Pine Valley Central School’s 13th-place ranking in the area of student access and Cassadaga Valley Central School’s 42nd-place ranking in teacher pay.

“Our Board of Education has been committed to small class sizes to meet the individual needs of our students,” said Pete Morgante, Pine Valley superintendent, in regard to student access. “We provide a lot of extra support for kids and, with the new curriculums and modules, we’re trying to give our teachers the support necessary to be successful.”

Scott Smith, Cassadaga Valley superintendent, said he believes his district’s ranking in the category of teacher pay correlates with the longevity of its staff.

“In general, I would offer that certainly one of the factors in determining how much a teacher gets paid is how long they’ve been in the profession,” Smith said. “We have a veteran teaching staff, which benefits the quality of education our students receive. I believe Cassadaga Valley’s teachers are among the most dedicated and hardworking group I’ve been associated with.”

HOW DO WE RATE?

Provided below are the rankings of Chautauqua County’s 18 public school districts, and four Cattaraugus County districts, among a total of 429 Upstate New York districts in each of the five categories released by Business First this week:

STUDENT ACCESS STANDINGS

13 Pine Valley

18 Ripley

37 Chautauqua Lake

38 Sherman

51 Dunkirk

61 Clymer

88 Cattaraugus-Little Valley

97 Salamanca

100 Westfield

132 Silver Creek

153 Randolph

154 Falconer

177 Brocton

200 Forestville

202 Jamestown

221 Cassadaga Valley

247 Fredonia

251 Ellicottville

261 Panama

273 Southwestern

326 Bemus Point

328 Frewsburg

2013 TEACHER PAY STANDINGS

42 Cassadaga Valley

85 Ellicottville

92 Fredonia

97 Westfield

109 Chautauqua Lake

112 Panama

119 Dunkirk

124 Southwestern

134 Jamestown

138 Bemus Point

213 Brocton

221 Forestville

227 Sherman

254 Ripley

262 Frewsburg

268 Salamanca

296 Randolph

341 Falconer

346 Cattaraugus-Little Valley

357 Silver Creek

365 Clymer

405 Pine Valley

2013 TEACHER EXPERIENCE STANDINGS

2 Ellicottville

4 Chautauqua Lake

11 Cassadaga Valley

15 Panama

22 Westfield

53 Fredonia

63 Brocton

68 Bemus Point

81 Southwestern

159 Forestville

184 Jamestown

222 Salamanca

239 Dunkirk

271 Frewsburg

344 Silver Creek

346 Cattaraugus-Little Valley

349 Falconer

358 Clymer

380 Sherman

395 Randolph

407 Ripley

426 Pine Valley

2013 ADMINISTRATIVE EFFICIENCY STANDINGS

24 Fredonia

52 Falconer

98 Randolph

103 Bemus Point

181 Ellicottville

199 Forestville

200 Frewsburg

256 Jamestown

273 Dunkirk

279 Cassadaga Valley

308 Silver Creek

311 Sherman

322 Westfield

352 Southwestern

365 Chautauqua Lake

372 Salamanca

386 Panama

390 Cattaraugus-Little Valley

401 Clymer

408 Brocton

412 Pine Valley

423 Ripley

2013 SOCIOECONOMIC CLIMATE STANDINGS

39 Bemus Point

67 Ellicottville

90 Chautauqua Lake

122 Fredonia

140 Southwestern

219 Frewsburg

233 Panama

284 – Westfield

292 Forestville

295 Cattaraugus-Little Valley

320 Falconer

340 Clymer

377 Randolph

382 Silver Creek

391 Cassadaga Valley

395 Pine Valley

413 Salamanca

415 Sherman

416 Brocton

417 Dunkirk

420 Jamestown

423 Ripley