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LI school administrators remain among state's top earners

Administrators at Long Island school districts continue to

Administrators at Long Island school districts continue to rank among the top earners in the state, occupying nine of the top 10 slots, according to figures compiled by an Albany-based think tank. Photo Credit: iStock

Administrators at Long Island school districts continue to rank among the top earners in the state, occupying nine of the top 10 slots, according to figures compiled by an Albany-based think tank.

Former Riverhead Central School District Assistant Superintendent Joseph Ogeka Jr., who retired earlier this year, drew the highest overall compensation, with $376,340 during the 2013-14 academic year, according to figures released Thursday by the Empire Center for Public Policy.

The figure includes some benefits on top of base salary.

The tally of earnings lists compensation reported to the state teachers' retirement system and was posted online at SeeThroughNY.net, the organization said. The Empire Center is independent and nonpartisan.

The listing does not include employees of New York City schools.

"Outside New York City, the number of public school employees paid more than $100,000 has jumped from 32,914 in 2008-09 to 48,703 in 2013-14 -- a 48 percent increase over the last five years," the Empire Center's release said.

The organization, on its pay list, divided the state into nine regions: Long Island, the Albany area, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier and Western New York.

Tim Hoeffer, the center's executive director, said Long Island as a region pays considerably better than others.

"I don't know that the headline is that one guy made $376,000, but there are 12 on Long Island that make over $300,000," Hoeffer said. "Maybe you can make the argument that all of these people should make over $300,000, but we see year after year that pay continues to go up."

But Robert Lowry, deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, said administrators' salaries have not been skyrocketing. The statewide average superintendent's salary -- now at $167,787 -- reflects an average annual increase of 0.4 percent since the 2010-11 school year, he said.

"Statewide, over the last four years, the average superintendent's salary has been largely flat," he said. "What we see happening is two things: We see people agreeing to smaller raises, and districts paying less when they hire a new superintendent than they used to."

Nancy Carney, who now is Riverhead's superintendent, said Ogeka's compensation as listed is inflated because it includes accumulated sick and vacation pay distributed once, when Ogeka retired.

She added that Ogeka's base salary was $183,632.64 for the 2013-14 school year.

The nine other top earners and their compensation were: Jeffrey Streitman, a deputy superintendent of Syosset schools, $374,150; Jericho superintendent Henry Grishman, $372,362; Joyce Bisso, superintendent of Hewlett-Woodmere, $335,607; Elwood superintendent Peter Scordo, $328,916; and Louis Wool, superintendent of Harrison schools in Westchester County, $323,604.

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