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Study of teacher salaries raises eyebrows

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April 15, 2019 09:20 pm

A survey of median annual teacher salaries statewide has been released, including a comparison of median annual salaries for workers in other fields with both a bachelor’s and graduate degree.

The study was conducted by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, a public policy think tank, and compares median salaries by school district. Only public schools are included in the survey; no private schools were studied.

New York City school districts were also omitted, according to the institute.

The Twin Counties school district with the highest median salary for its teachers is the Hudson City School District, where teachers earned a median annual salary of $77,406. Workers in Columbia County in other fields with a bachelor’s degree earned a median salary of $48,407, while those with a master’s degree earned $65,340, according to the study.

The second-highest paid district in Columbia County is Germantown, where teachers earned a median salary of $71,642, and Kinderhook was third, at $69,603.

Anna Klc, of Hudson, was surprised to learn how much teachers earn, particularly in Hudson.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Klc said. “No wonder our school taxes are so high. I am shocked, absolutely shocked. This is a ridiculously high salary for what they do, because on top of that, they have teachers’ aides, they have all kinds of support. This is ridiculously high.”

The Columbia County district with the lowest median annual teacher salary is New Lebanon, at $59,470.

In Greene County, the district with the highest median annual salary is Coxsackie-Athens Central at $73,877, with the Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School District at $73,025. The Catskill Central School District came in at $71,258.

Cairo-Durham had the lowest median annual salary in the county at $64,256.

Median annual salaries for workers in other fields in Greene County with a bachelor’s degree were $40,801, and $60,667 for those with a master’s degree.

Ron Jones, of Windham, said the numbers were higher than he anticipated.

“That’s a lot of money. They are well paid,” Jones said. “I keep hearing that the teachers are underpaid. That’s what I hear. But how is the quality of education, how do the students do — that is pertinent, too. If this is performance based, then you need to look at that as well.”

New York State United Teachers spokesman Matt Hamilton said educators provide a valuable service. NYSUT is the union that represents teachers statewide.

“New York’s teachers are dedicated to ensuring that our children receive a high-quality public education,” Hamilton said. “NYSUT is proud to support hundreds of thousands of educators who deserve fair salaries that reflect their hard work and high levels of expertise and education.”

Matt Fuller, the teachers’ representative from the Taconic Hills Central School District, said there are too many variables that cannot be fact-checked about the numbers, and declined to comment further on the study.

The highest paid school district in the state is the Bronxville district in Westchester County, where teachers received a median annual salary of $362,000, more than $100,000 more than the next highest salary, according to the institute. The Bronxville data was regarded as “an outlier” and was excluded from the survey.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, a research arm of the State University of New York, is a public policy think tank founded in 1981 that conducts research and analysis to inform solutions to the problems facing New York state and the nation, according to the organization’s website.