School districts outside New York City paid a record-high number of employees $100,000 or more during the 2019-20 school year as schools were physically closed for the final three months, according to data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s government transparency website.

At least 60,921 teachers, administrators and other education professionals in school districts outside New York City were paid $100,000 or more, up from 59,241 a year earlier. The total in each region was:

  • Capital: 2,210
  • Central New York: 708
  • Finger Lakes: 1,803
  • Long Island: 31,977
  • Mid-Hudson: 20,356
  • Mohawk Valley: 398
  • North Country: 261
  • Southern Tier: 461
  • Western New York: 2,747

The highest-paid school employee was Kevin C. Donovan, a physical education teacher in the Central Islip Union Free School District in Suffolk County, who received $509,313. Central Islip’s notoriously generous teacher union contract provides retiring teachers with very large accumulated time-off payouts.

Statewide, at least 821 employees were paid $200,000 or more and at least 45 collected over $300,000.

The 239,315 records, obtained from the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, detail $16.8 billion in pay. They do not include a small group of administrators who instead participate in the state’s Voluntary Defined Contribution retirement plan.

New York’s highest-in-the-nation per-pupil K-12 costs are driven primarily by instructional salary and benefit costs which were 118 percent above the national average in the most recent federal data. The pay figures on SeeThroughNY do not include employer healthcare, pension, or other benefit costs.

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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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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