Bemus Point Is Top District In County

Once again, Bemus Point School District received high scores from Buffalo Business First and has been named the No. 1 school district in Chautauqua County.

Academic rankings, released Friday, placed the district of 874 students in seventh place out of 97 districts in Western New York, the only school in the county to make the top 10.

Business First used four years of test data and a 100-point rating scale to determine the rankings, placing Southwestern at No. 16, and Fredonia at No. 20.

The top three school districts for the county were consistent with Business First’s rankings of high schools in the area as well.

Bemus Point jumped up on the list of best elementary schools in Chautauqua County, while Sherman scored best countywide.

Bemus Point Superintendent Mike Mansfield said improvement of the school’s state math scores were a major accomplishment this year.

“Like most schools in the state, with the rigor and such, just getting our math and English language arts curriculum aligned horizontally and vertically was a major push in the last few years,” he said. “This one piece of data helps reinforce that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Bemus Point has the fourth lowest student/teacher ratio of all county school districts, while Falconer has the lowest number of teachers per student with a ratio of 14-to-1 in the district of 1,437 students.

Falconer placed 73rd in the overall district rankings, but received four stars for Business First’s ratings of administrative efficiency last week.

Falconer and Bemus Point also scored second and third places, respectively, for highest SAT score averages in the county, just behind Chautauqua Lake.

On the list of Western New York school districts, Chautauqua Lake was ranked No. 31, or fourth for the county, while Westfield and Sherman school districts also ranked in the mid-30s.

Jamestown, the district with the most students, came in second to last place for Chautauqua County at No. 89, but landed high on the list for SAT scores, while Dunkirk was ranked No. 95 for all districts in the county.

In terms of administrative pay, Jamestown’s superintendent makes the most at $170,646 per year in a district with nine schools and 5,100 students.

Dunkirk came in second place for its superintendent’s salary of $161,357.

The district with the lowest paid superintendent in the county was Forestville.

Teachers within the Jamestown school district make the most annually, at an average of $39,729 per year, with the lowest paid teachers in the county employed by Sherman at an average of $31,138.50. Averages were calculated by ranges in salary from teachers making at least $20,000 to a maximum of $100,000.

The average salary for teachers countywide is $35,680.85.

Socioeconomic climate standings were also released last week after an analysis of poverty rates, income levels and the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

Again, Bemus Point fared the best for county school districts with a five-star ranking and a poverty rate of 10.4 percent.

Chautauqua Lake, Fredonia and Southwestern school districts also ranked in the top third of the 98 districts for socioeconomic status, which was consistent with their respective overall rankings in the county.

In terms of socioeconomic status, Dunkirk received one star for its poverty rate of 33.9 percent. Other districts with one star included Cassadaga Valley, Pine Valley, Sherman, Gowanda, Brocton, Ripley and Jamestown at No. 95 with a poverty rate of 36.5 percent.

Overall, Cassadaga, Pine Valley, Randolph, Panama and Silver Creek school districts landed in the middle of the list in the lower 50s, with Frewsburg ranking No. 63 and Clymer at No. 70. Brocton and Forestville school districts came in 82nd and 84th places, respectively, with Ripley at No. 88.

For a complete list of district rankings, visit