In a single recent 12-month period, the state’s largest teachers’ union spent $150 million on itself, according to a new study by the Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability.

FERA understandably found it hard to resist linking the “lavish” spending habits of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) with the union’s perennial demand for more state education spending.

The study, focused on NYSUT spending between September 2005 and August 2004, noted that unions funds had paid for “items ranging from retreats at luxury resorts to a multi-million dollar fleet of automobiles.”

NYSUT conference spending totaled $4.2 million for the period. According to the study, itemized expenditures included:

* $501,307 at Cooperstown’s four-diamond Otesaga Resort Hotel,
* $334,608 at Montauk’s Gurney’s Inn Resort,
* $189,520 at out-of-state, Princeton, New Jersey’s Doral Forrestal Conference Center, and
* $136,545 at out-of-country, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario’s four-diamond Queens Landing Inn.

FERA also reported expenditures of $195,362 for “photography” and $45,000 to New York City’s Group Box Office Sales for “entertainment” to $8,094 for “dry cleaning.”

FERA’s study also noted that the union’s new suburban Albany, state-of-the art headquarters and conference center is 218,000 square feet–“more than five times the size of an average neighborhood Wal-Mart.”

NYSUT’s spending was sufficient to finance the hiring of 4,100 new teachers, FERA’s Jason Brooks noted.

According to figure provided by the Office of the State Comptroller, NYSUT’s $150 million expenditure is roughly equivalent to total expenditures for the City of Albany for the year 2003.


About the Author

Tim Hoefer

Tim Hoefer is president & CEO of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Read more by Tim Hoefer

You may also like

Don’t Tell The Grownups: NY Still Hiding State Test Scores

State education officials are refusing to release the results of federally required assessments in grades 3 through 8, deliberately keeping parents and taxpayers in the dark—not only about how New York’s public schools performed, but also about how that performance was measured. Read More

What You Should Know: NY’s changing graduation requirements

Months after lowering the scores to pass state assessment exams, New York education officials are considering eliminating the Regents diploma. Read More

State Drags Out Test Mess

The New York State Education Department (SED) was proud to announce this week that they have lifted the embargo on last year’s state test scores in reading and math. Does this mean the public gets to see them now?  Read More

Back to School: New York Style

Class is in session across the state, and things are messy (especially in New York City).  Read More

Where are New York’s Test Results?

For the second year in a row, New York parents will receive their back-to-school shopping lists before their students' results on state assessments. and Read More

NY school spending again led US, hitting all-time high in 2020-21

Public elementary and secondary school spending in New York rose to $26,571 per pupil in 2020-21, according to the latest Census Bureau data Read More

A Tale of Two Levies

New York school districts are getting record levels of state aid. But how many are using it to cut taxes? Read More

The moving goal post of “proficiency” 

It raises the question of whether Albany has, at any point, had an accurate picture of where the state’s 2.4 million students stand academically.  Read More