2018-2019

Staff salaries are the dominant category of spending in public school budgets across the state. And the largest item within that category is teacher salaries, which consistently rank among the highest in the country.

Based on 2018-19 school year data compiled by the State Education Department, below is a district-by-district map of median staff salaries in districts across the state. Click on the tab to narrow the search to median annual pay levels for teachers, principals, and other administrators.

A more detailed breakdown of the teacher salary distributions by district—including salary quintiles, along with salaries at the 5th, 50th (median) and 95th percentile—can be found at SeeThroughNY.

Key trends

As the map shows, six-figure median salaries have become the norm for teachers in the vast majority of New York’s downstate suburban school districts.

As of 2018-19, more than half the full-time public school teachers in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties had salaries exceeding $100,000 a year. Median salaries were just over $90,000 in two other downstate counties, Dutchess and Orange, as well as in Ulster County.

The highest median teacher salary was reported for Nassau County’s Jericho School District, at $148,888, followed by Scarsdale in Westchester County at $143,057, Syosset in Nassau County at $138,389, Cold Spring Harbor in Suffolk at $136,733, and Carmel in Putnam County at $136,609. Haverstraw-Stony Point teachers had the highest median salary in Rockland County, at $123,934.

Median salaries for teachers reflect two factors:

  • the contractual pay schedule, including annual “step” increments based on longevity and added pay “lanes” based on graduate credits; and
  • the seniority level of the teaching staff.

Districts with otherwise identical pay schedules can have different median pay levels if the average staff experience level is different.

Many downstate suburban contracts provide for salaries of more than $100,000 for teachers after 10 to 15 annual pay steps, and thus the median pay levels for most of these districts reflect staffs comprised of many experienced teachers. New York City, by contrast, has salary scales not much lower than suburban levels, but also a higher level of junior staff turnover that results in a relatively large number of teachers with less experience. These factors that help explain the median citywide pay level of just above $68,000, which correlates with contractual pay grades for teachers with seven to eight years of experience.

Administrative salaries consistently exceed teacher salaries and are highest among district superintendents, whose individual employment contracts can also be searched and downloaded from SeeThroughNY.

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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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