Maximum pension benefits averaged $68,676 for the 2,495 members of the New York State Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS) who retired in school year 2016-17 with at least 30 years of credited service time, according to data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

Reflecting regional salary differences, the average pension for the NYSTRS members with 30 years or more of service was highest in New York City suburban districts, as detailed below.

NYSTRS Members Retiring in 2016-17 After > 30 Years

Region Number Average Pension
Capital 229 $61,759
Central New York 263 $52,067
Finger Lakes 271 $58,437
Long Island 614 $89,158
Mid-Hudson 394 $83,205
Mohawk Valley 129 $57,138
North Country 130 $51,401
Southern Tier 201 $51,832
Western New York 264 $59,384

 

Excluding New York City educators, who belong to a separate city retirement system, the average pension was $47,730 for all 5,458 NYSTRS members who retired in 2016-17. The total includes both part- and full-time public school teachers and administrators, many of whom met only the minimum requirement to vest in the pension system. The average pension for 2016-17 retirees increased with service length, as shown below.

Pensions by Years of Service for 2016-17 NYSTRS Retirees
Years of Service Number Average Pension
At least 20 years 4,357 $56,865
At least 25 years 3,342 $63,711
At least 30 years 2,495 $68,676
At least 35 years 526 $83,812

 

Two hundred of the 2016-17 NYSTRS retirees, 4 percent of the total, were eligible for pensions of $100,000 or more. This brings the total number of NYSTRS retirees with six-figure pensions to 3,330, more than double the 1,255 entitled to six-figure pensions in 2010. Forty-eight retirees were eligible for pensions over $200,000, and four were eligible for pensions over $300,000. The top NYSTRS pension earner retiring in 2016-17 was former Rye Neck UFSD superintendent Peter J. Mustich, who can collect up to $242,686.

The full list of NYSTRS retirees and their pension benefit levels was made public thanks to the Empire Center’s successful court challenge against efforts by pension funds to conceal information from taxpayers. The Center remains involved in litigation to protect and expand the public’s ability to examine public pensions.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit think tank dedicated to promoting policies to 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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