State records show that teachers' and administrators' salaries across New York have risen slightly on average over the past two years, while more than 55-hundred classroom positions were eliminated. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Job losses have gone hand in hand with the recession: those in the educational sector have not been spared. Taxes are going higher. School districts are "making do" - but data from the statewide Teachers’ Retirement System, obtained by Gannett News, showed teachers enjoyed a 1.5 percent increase in salary between the past two school years, from 2010-11 to 2011-12. A school year runs July 1st through June 30th.
Average salary for an educator in New York last year was $55,652, up from $54,804 in 2010-11.
Education experts believe the elimination of lower-paid, less experienced teachers helped drive the average salary upward. But New York State United Teachers spokesman Carl Korn says teachers' salaries trail behind those of other professionals.
Robert Lowry, deputy director of the New York State Council of Superintendents, says over the last three years, the average district has eliminated about 8 per cent of its total positions.
NYSUT's Carl Korn says since 2008 the recession has forced school districts to cut more than 35-thousand educator jobs. As the overall fiscal picture for schools gets darker, education advocates warn that students are suffering.
Observers add that most teachers also still receive an annual increase in their base pay plus “step increases” or “longevity increases” for adding years of experience. But they quickly point out that the raise yields little or nothing in added take-home pay: a small raise of around 2 per cent could be offset by an increase in the out-of-pocket charges associated with benefits.