Updated pension data for retired New York State public school teachers and administrators, released to the Empire Center pursuant to a landmark Court of Appeals ruling last week, were posted online today at www.SeeThroughNY.net

The database from the New York State Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS) includes names, benefit rates, retirement dates and last known employers for a total of 147,515 people collecting pensions as of June 30, 2013. It does not include retired New York City educators, whose pension system also was ordered by the Court of Appeals to release names of pension recipients to the Empire Center.

Focusing on individuals who retired between 2011 and 2013, the period for which NYSTRS previously had been withholding information from the Empire Center, key findings from the newly released data include the following:

Career Employee Benefits– The average pension for 2,421 newly retired educators with at least 35 years of service credit came to $82,947 a year.

Six-Figure Benefits— 657 new retirees were eligible for pensions of $100,000 or more, bringing the total number of NYSTRS six-figure pensioners to 2,310.

Average Pensions— The average annual benefit for all 14,484 newly retired educators, including many who worked in the system for only a portion of their careers, came to $47,024 based on an average 26 years of service.

The list of 100 largest NYSTRS pension allowances (attached) is dominated by former Long Island and Hudson Valley superintendents–headed by James A. Feltman, retired superintendent of the Commack Union Free School District, whose pension is $325,854. Feltman’s predecessor in Commack, James Hunderfund, pulls down a pension of $316,929 while also working as superintendent of the Malverne School District.

In a 6-0 decision last week, the state Court of Appeals overturned lower court rulings and ordered NYSTRS and the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System to release the names of pension recipients to the Empire Center, which had sought them pursuant to a Freedom of Information Law request.  The ruling also affects other New York City pension funds that have withheld similar information from the Empire Center since 2009.

In addition to pensions, SeeThroughNY includes searchable online databases of payrolls for New York State and New York City government, counties, municipalities and school districts throughout the state, and dozens of public authorities. Also posted are pork barrel “member items” from past years; state legislator office expenditures; and a benchmarking feature for comparing local government and school district spending and combined tax rates.

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