The number of six-figure pensions paid to retired New York City education professionals has increased more than fivefold in the past decade, according to data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

Out of 6,279 New York City Teachers’ Retirement System (NYCTRS) members who retired in the last two years and had been retired for a full year in 2019, 160 were eligible for pensions of $100,000 or more.

Fifty-four NYCTRS retirees as of 2019 received pensions of at least $200,000, including 13 with annual benefits exceeding $300,000 and six topping $400,000. Ten years earlier, only one NYCTRS retiree had a pension higher than $200,000.

The percentage of City University of New York (CUNY) retirees with six-figure pensions was higher than other entities in the NYCTRS system. More than ten percent of CUNY retirees were eligible for $100,000 or more, including 23 of the top 100 pensions paid by the system. For the eighth year in a row, the highest pension was for retired CUNY professor Edgar McManus, who last year was eligible to receive $561,754.

Among NYCTRS members retired for a full year in 2019, the top five pension recipients were:

  • Myriam P. Sarachik, distinguished professor of Physics at CUNY, $452,003;
  • Rosa J. Akidil, school psychologist, $325,266;
  • Sheila L. Sorokoff, guidance counselor, $249,849;
  • Vickie L. Boyd, teacher, $242,610; and
  • Ellen Wolk, learning disabilities specialist, $238,131.

The 813 teachers, college instructors, and school administrators who retired in 2018 with at least 30 years of service credit last year received pensions averaging $70,256.

These data are made public thanks to the Empire Center’s successful court challenges against efforts by public agencies to conceal information from taxpayers. The Center remains involved in litigation to protect and expand the public’s ability to examine public pensions and spending.

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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