Over the weekend, we reported that in Erie and Niagara counties, 35 public school employees were each paid more than $150,000 last year. Here's the complete list.
Administrators in the Williamsville School District are the best-paid in the region. Superintendent Howard S. Smith's earnings ($227,850) for the first time surpassed those of Buffalo Superintendent James A. Williams' ($223,372), whose district is about three times bigger, based on student enrollment. And three assistant superintendents in Williamsville each earned $151,620.
Our story was based on data released last week by the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a project of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. The Center collects and posts public payrolls from school districts and local governments across the state at www.seethroughny.net. Last week, they posted 2009-10 payrolls from schools across New York.
Smith (pictured at right) told me, "I have made it my practice not to talk about my own salary with the media." He did, however, note: "There are a number of superintendents in Monroe County paid more than me."
That's true, more or less -- to be exact, two superintendents in Monroe County made more than Smith last year.
Rochester Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard, whose district is about the same size as Buffalo, made $248,520, and the superintendent in Pittsford, a Rochester suburb, made $246,242.
But Smith raises a good point. Whenever statewide data is released, each media outlet focuses on the chunk of the data that pertains to its readers (or viewers or listeners). It's interesting, though, to take a look at what's going on elsewhere in the state.
Rochester's WXXI reported that more than 300 employees in the Rochester School District made more than $100,000 -- compared to 67 in Buffalo.
The highest salaries, though, were clearly on Long Island.
Former Commack Superintendent James Feltman made more than anyone else in the state, raking in $657,970, reports the Commack Patch. That included unused sick time and vacation days he had accrued over 24 years in the district.
His district defends his compensation, saying he's well-respected statewide and that strategies he employed over the years saved the district hundreds of thousands of dollars, reports myfoxny.com:
- Mary Pasciak