School districts across the Capital Region have followed a statewide trend toward more employees being paid $100,000 or more, but some districts have seen more growth in high-pay positions than others.
The Schenectady City School District outstripped Niskayuna, Saratoga Springs, Shenendehowa and rural districts in adding six-figure employees since 2010, but it was overshadowed by the Albany City School District, which more than doubled the number of employees in its $100,000 club in the past five years.
The educator pay information is based on data posted Sunday to the Empire Center for Public Policy’s SeeThroughNY database of public spending and public employee pay.
At a glance
Capital Region school districts with the most employees making $100,000 or more (Based on the SeeThroughNY database of public employee pay):
South Colonie: 103
North Colonie: 84
Ballston Spa: 80
Sixty-two employees in Schenectady schools make at least $100,000, with Superintendent Larry Spring drawing the most pay at around $195,000, according to the database. The district serves just over 10,000 students.
In 2010, the district had 44 employees making six figures and just two employees making more than $150,000. Five Schenectady employees — including the athletic director, director of special education and a pair of principals — are now paid at least $150,000, according to the educator pay data.
“Teacher pay is the largest component of school spending, and schools account for the biggest share of local property tax bills across New York,” said Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center, when the organization released the new data. “Posting the salaries of educational professionals helps taxpayers understand where the money is going, and to whom.”
In Albany schools, according to the database, the number of six-figure employees has increased from 56 in 2010 to 113 last year, and the salary of its top-paid employee has jumped more than $50,000 over that time period.
Saratoga Springs schools, with an enrollment of about 6,300 students, and Niskayuna schools, with about 4,100 students, have followed comparable trends in their number of six-figure employees in the past five years.
In Saratoga, 34 employees make $100,000 or more, an increase of six employees since 2010. In Niskayuna, 30 employees make $100,000 or more, an increase of five employees since 2010.
The Shenendehowa Central School District in Clifton Park, which has around 9,800 students, employs 46 people who make six figures, up seven from five years ago. The district’s superintendent, L. Oliver Robinson, is the only educator in Schenectady, Saratoga, Niskayuna or Albany to make more than $200,000, according to the Empire Center. His total pay is listed at nearly $220,000 in the database.
In many school contracts, employees are guaranteed annual “adjustments” or increases in pay, and some administrators contract for automatic salary increases if certain targets are met.
The trend toward more education professionals making six figures holds across the state, according to the Empire Center. The Albany-based group, which advocates for “free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government,” calculated that there was a 54 percent increase in the number of educators making $100,000 or more since 2009 in districts outside New York City.
In 2009, just over 32,000 educators made six figures compared to nearly 50,000 last year.
The group also estimated the percentage of school professionals making six figures had increased from 12 percent to 21 percent during that time period.
Rural school districts in the region tend to have the fewest employees making $100,000 or more. Cobleskill schools haves four employees at those pay levels, and Scoharie schools have five making six figures, according to the database.
To search the database for your school district, please visit www.seethroughny.net/payrolls/schools
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