The number of retired New York City educators who received six-figure pension payouts rose forty-five percent in 2021, from 3,708 to 5,392, according to data posted today at for the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System (NYCTRS).   

Of those retirees, 135 received pensions of at least $200,000, 25 exceeded $300,000 and eight topped $400,000. Ten years earlier, only seven NYCTRS retirees collected more than $200,000.  

Among retirees, who include teachers, college instructors and school administrators, City University of New York (CUNY) retirees were most likely to collect six-figure pensions. Of the 2,323 CUNY retirees, 331 (about one in seven) received pensions payments of $100,000 or more, including 29 of the top 100 pensions paid by the system.  

The single largest pension payout went to former Queens elementary school principal Anne Bussel, who last year received $678,860. 

Among the 888 teachers, college instructors, and school administrators who retired in 2020 with at least 30 years of service credit and received a full year of pension benefits in 2021, the average pension received was $73,069. 

Among NYCTRS members who retired in 2020, the top five pension recipients were:  

  • Harold Falk, physics professor at CUNY, $360,318;  
  • Edward M. Bostick, linguistics professor at CUNY, $343,986;  
  • Daniel M. Greenberger, quantum physicist at CUNY, $315,787;  
  • Ruth H. Lacy, principal, $282,665; and 
  • Vita C. Rabinowitz, psychology professor at CUNY, $276,627.  

The average pension paid out last year for all 2,861 NYCTRS members who retired during calendar year 2020 was $47,890. The total includes both part- and full-time public school teachers, many of whom met only a minimum five-year requirement to vest in the pension system.  

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

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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.

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