Career School Pensions Average Over $68,000, Higher in NYC

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Pensions averaged $68,334 for teachers and other professionals who retired in school year 2015-16 after working at least 30 years in New York State public schools outside New York City, according to data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

Reflecting regional salary differences, the average pension for the latest group of New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (NYSTRS) retirees with 30 years or more of service was highest in New York City suburban districts, as detailed below:

nystrs16-table1

The average pension for all 5,436 NYSTRS members who retired from school districts during the 2015-16 school year was $46,727, excluding New York City educators, who belong to a separate city pension system discussed below. However, this figure includes both part- and full-time educators, many of whom met only the minimum requirement to vest in the pension system. The average pension for SY15-16 retirees increased with service length:

nystrs16-table2

A total of 3,010 school district retirees were eligible for NYSTRS pensions exceeding $100,000 in 2016, up from 1,255 in 2010. Forty-six retirees were eligible for pensions over $200,000, and four were eligible for pensions over $300,000. The top NYSTRS pension earner retiring in SY15-16 was current West Hempstead UFSD superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss, who can collect up to $223,491 a year in addition to her regular pay.

Pension payments for all 79,742 retirees from New York City public schools, averaging $43,701 during 2016, were also added to SeeThroughNY. Among educators who retired from New York City schools during 2015 with at least 30 years of experience, the average pension collected during 2016 was $68,796, while new retirees with at least 35 years of experience collected an average of $87,945. The highest pension payment among 2015 retirees went to Patricia A. Filomena, who collected $290,686 during 2016 after accruing 52 years of service credit in a since-closed benefits tier.

The data were made public thanks to the Empire Center’s successful court challenge against efforts by pension funds to conceal information from taxpayers. The Center remains involved in litigation to protect and expand the public’s ability to examine public pensions.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit think tank dedicated to promoting policies to make New York a better place to live, work and do business.