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.

Tags:

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

Empire State’s new budget is a bridge to nowhere

Looking ahead to an uncertain post-pandemic recovery, New York’s newly enacted state budget for fiscal year 2022 raises spending by staggering amounts that—barring an unlikely rapid return to peak 2019 economic activity in New York City—can't possibly be sustained for more than a few years. The budget is a mid-2020s fiscal disaster in the making: an incomplete bridge over a deepening river of red ink. Read More

NYC Turns from Rewarding Failure in Schools to Punishing Success

Mayor de Blasio began his tenure by rewarding New York City’s worst-performing schools with added funding. He’s now set to end it by punishing the city’s best. Read More

Thanks to Unions, NYC’s School Reopening Deal Was Costly and Educationally Hazardous

New York City schools reopened this fall under terms dictated by the city's teacher and principal unions. Now, as city schools close -- once more at the unions' behest -- the city is left with thousands of extra teachers hi Read More

On Measuring School Quality, Education Week Misses the Mark

Education Week’s rankings do not measure what counts. New York’s substandard achievement coupled with highest-in-the-nation spending and above-average wealth means that when it comes to school quality, New York fails to pass the mark. Read More

Even After Aid Cut, New York Will Spend Most on Education

If New York was a country in 2016—the most recent year for global education spending data—it would have boasted the highest per pupil expenditure in the world, even after subtracting 20 percent of state aid. Read More

Carve-outs prevail in “wage” bill

A “prevailing wage” expansion in Governor Cuomo’s budget is riddled with carve-outs—and new discretionary power for the governor. Read More

Rochester schools: bad to worse

There's good news and bad news about Rochester schools from a new study comparing the variation in educational quality within urban educational systems. The good news: measured by standardized pupil proficiency scores, there's only an 8.6 percentage point gap between good and bad schools in Rochester. The bad news: even Rochester's good schools—those in the 75th percentile—have the lowest proficiency scores among the 68 largest urban school systems in the country. Read More

NY per-pupil spending reaches $23k

New York's spending on elementary and secondary education reached a record $23,091 per pupil in 2017, once again topping  all other states in this category, according to the latest U.S. Census data. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!