Teachers in the mid-Hudson pull down some of the highest salaries in the state, based on data cited by a conservative think tank. 

The Empire Center for Public Policy examined public school teachers’ salaries across the state in a new study entitled, “What’s driving K-12 school costs?” The center released the report Feb. 3.

Based on data from the Empire Center’s website (www.empirecenter.org), the median compensation for public school teachers in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties was $78,840 in 2013-14. That puts teachers in Sullivan, Ulster and Orange counties 6 percent ahead of the statewide median of $73,933.

The report also looked at a broader region, including those three counties and Dutchess, Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties. That larger region’s median was $98,621, second only to the median salary of teachers on Long island – at $104,129, according to the Empire Center.

In comparison, the overall median income of individuals in the mid-Hudson – Sullivan, Ulster and Orange counties – is considerably less. For those with bachelor’s degrees, their income in 2013 ranged from $44,650 to $57,227. For those with graduate or professional degrees, the range went from $62,532  to $74,567.

Locally, teachers in Monroe-Woodbury lead the way, with median salaries of $101,584, while on the flip-side teachers in Roscoe take home a median income of $60,427.

“The takeaway is the little-known Triboro Amendment is a major cost driver that allows salaries to rise, even when contracts have expired,” according to Ken Girardin, communications manager for the Empire Center. “If you wanted to get rid of automatic step increases that happen after contracts expire, then you would need to repeal the Triborough Amendment.”

The Triborough Amendment is a clause in the 1967 Taylor Law that ensures that the terms of a teacher’s contract remain in effect and unchanged until a new contract is negotiated.

The study has put the Empire Center at odds with unions, including New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), which represents more than 600,000 educators.

According to NYSUT spokesman Carl Korn, the Triborough Amendment was passed by lawmakers in return for teachers not being allowed to strike.

“There is not a sentence in the amendment that guarantees automatic increases in salaries and benefits and there are teachers contracts in about 40 school districts that don’t have any step increases,” said Carl Korn, NYSUT spokesman.

Median teachers salaries have risen over the past several years, but NYSUT attributes it to the loss of an estimated 35,000 teaching positions from 2008-2013, which were mostly entry-level jobs.

NYSUT calls the Triborough Amendment an important incentive to negotiation.

“If the steps were frozen and the faculty is not permitted to strike, then collective bargaining would become collective begging,” Korn said.

Other unions, including the AFL-CIO, have also blasted the study.

“This latest study is just another reprehensible, misguided attempt to diminish workers rights and protections,” said Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO.

© 2015 Times Herald-Record

You may also like

Pandemic, recession don’t bring down school budgets

Stephen T. Watson This year's school elections were delayed and then shifted entirely to voting by mail thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, which also shut down schools here and across the country. District officials worried this new method of Read More

It’s never simple arithmetic with schools

Earlier this week, the Empire Center did its own report on the plummeting numbers when it comes to students. Overall, the 2019-20 enrollment is at its lowest levels in New York state in the last 30 years. Read More

EDITORIAL: State schools continue spending more for less

As reported by the Empire Center last week, “The number of students enrolled in New York state public schools is the lowest recorded in 30 years.” Since 2000, enrollment in public schools has declined by more than 10 percent statewide with most of it upstate as enrollment in New York City schools has increased 1.3 percent in the last 10 years. Students are not leaving to go to private or parochial schools either because they, too, are showing declines, down about 8 percent in the last decade. Read More

Soon it will be the 1950s again as enrollment continues to drop in New York schools

Mount Morris had the highest increase among any district outside of New York City, according to a report released Tuesday by The Empire Center for Public Policy in Albany. Read More

Report: Enrollment In New York State Schools Lowest Since Early 1990s

According to a report from the Empire Center released Wednesday, public school enrollment statewide for the 2018-2019 school year has decreased to levels not seen since the early 1990s. The last school year saw a drop alone of 30,338 pupils from the previous school year. Read More

New research shows New York public schools have the lowest enrollment in decades

SYRACUSE, NY — Public school enrollment in New York is lower than it’s been since the early 90s, according to data compiled over a 10 year period by the Empire Center, a public policy non-profit organization in Albany. Read More

Public school enrollment is increasing in New York City, report finds

The report -- released Tuesday by Empire Center, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank based in Albany -- found that 100 districts in the state’s nearly 700 public school districts had increased enrollment from 2008-2009 to 2018-2019, including New York City’s five boroughs. Read More

NY public schools have lowest enrollment in decades: study

Where have all the kids gone? The number of students enrolled in New York state public schools is the lowest recorded in 30 years, a new Empire Center for Public Policy study released Tuesday reveals. Read More


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


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


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!