ALBANY — Newly retired New York City teachers and administrators took home average annual pensions of as much as $87,945 last year, according to a report released Thursday.

The data released by the Empire Center for Public Policy said the average pension payments for all 79,742 retirees in New York City public schools was $43,701 in 2016.

By comparison, the average pension for those who retired with at least 30 years’ experience in 2015 — and were paid in 2016 — was $68,796. It was even higher for those with at least 35 years of experience — $87,945.

The largest city school pension in 2016, according to the Empire Center, went to Patricia Filomena, who retired in 2015 and a year later collected $290,686 after accruing 52 years of service credit in a since-closed benefits tier.

Filomena, a union district 7 representative who spent 32 years as an instructor at Public School 18 in the South Bronx, couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

“We want people to look at pensions as part of the package deal when you’re talking about compensation,” said Empire Center spokesman Ken Girardin.

He added the city and state need to look at different ways to bring retirement costs down.

“It’s definitely an outmoded way to fund retirements when you look at how the private sector has moved toward defined contribution retirement plans,” Girardin said. “Every year we remain in the pension business, we’re putting taxpayers who haven’t even been born yet on the hook for paying benefits 50 or 60 years from now.”

Alison Gendar, a spokeswoman for the city United Federation of Teachers, defended the pensions.

“The best reward our retired teachers get is the knowledge that they spent decades helping to improve the lives of children,” Gendar said. “The modest average monthly pension they receive, and the financial security it provides in retirement, is a welcome acknowledgment of their efforts.’

© 2017 New York Daily News

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Empire Center for Public Policy
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Phone: 518-434-3100

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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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