Where you live has a strong bearing on what you're paid as a public-school teacher in the State of New York. Median salaries for teachers with Master's degrees and 10 years experience range from $45,882 in the Mohawk Valley to a high of $81,852 on Long Island, according to a recent Cornell University study.
Generally, downstate suburban districts pay the highest salaries, while Upstate rural districts tend to pay the lowest.
Such wide variation in teacher salaries is documented in the New York State Teacher Salary Report, an analysis prepared by Cornell ILR School's Bargaining for Better Schools project. All of the state's 695 public school districts are included in the report. Key findings of the Cornell study are illustrated on a map of teacher salaries by region.
"This is the first study that compares every teacher union contract in New York state," said Sally Klingel, director of Labor-Management Relations at the ILR School.
Overall, the statewide median salary for a starting teacher with a master's degree is $43,928. After 20 years, that median salary would be $69,460. Experienced teachers in some areas -- mainly downstate communities -- can earn $100,000 or more. In other areas, experienced teachers are paid in the $40,000 to $60,000 range.
Upstate teachers in regions with the lowest median salaries -- the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley -- make about 40 percent less than downstate peers with similar qualifications and experience.
Districts located in rural areas generally do not pay teachers as much as suburban schools, which have the highest teacher salaries. City districts also tend to pay less than suburban districts.
"In considering the need to attract and retain high-quality educators, it is important to consider relative salary levels," said Alex Colvin, Cornell professor of Conflict Resolution.
In 2014, the ILR School will release reports about New York's Annual Professional Performance Review teacher evaluation systems and about employment provisions found in collective bargaining agreements.
For more information, visit http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/bargaining-for-better-schools/. "The project aims to increase dialogue and learning among school administrations, union leaders, citizens and policymakers with support from accurate data on relationships between employment practices and school improvement," Klingel said.
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