Most teachers do not get paid out vacation days when...

Most teachers do not get paid out vacation days when they retire, a reader points out. Credit: Getty Images/skynesher

This is the type of story that demeans education and demonizes educators, many of whom have worked several years and attained advanced degrees to earn those salaries [“$100G+ for more than 31,000 educators on LI,” News, Jan. 29].

The real story, however, is in the chart that lists the 10 highest earners, seven of whom are retired, with total compensation exceeding $4 million. That is part of the problem that pushes our taxes higher, much more than the 36 teachers, out of 54,800, who had packages worth at least $300,000.

Despite state tests showing “mediocre” results, as stated in the article, explain to me why so many people move here from other places to take advantage of our many award-winning schools?

 — Douglas Kennedy, Westbury  

Administrators, especially central ones, are not classroom teachers. Most teachers do not get paid out vacation days when they retire. Benefits such as payouts for sick days upon retirement may have been obtained through negotiations to encourage teachers to be in the classroom and bank sick days.

For teachers, these benefits are in exchange for a giveback, such as an increase in health insurance premiums. This is unlike central administrators, whose givebacks are rare to nonexistent for additional salary or benefits.

Teachers making at least $100,000 attained those salaries over numerous years by working and continuing education above a master’s degree, some up to another 75 credits.

High salaries? Go after the superintendents, and leave teachers alone. Over the years, Newsday has touted Long Island as having students excelling in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, most of whom come from affluent districts. Their teachers are well paid. You don’t hear those parents complaining.

Our successful public schools are one of the biggest draws for families to buy homes in our communities.

 — Karen Ferguson, Glen Cove

The writer retired as the Glen Cove school district teachers’ union president.

  

I have been a music teacher for 30 years. I have a master’s degree and 75 extra credits.

I’ve had my toes broken by a flying desk, been hit twice, dodged flying objects, including shoes and musical instruments, and have been cursed at by kids and parents. I taught in rooms with no windows that used to be closets.

I’ve had to buy my own chair because the one I inherited was a dining room chair held together with duct tape. I taught in a room that leaked for five years and ones that were at least 85 degrees. I have had to wear my gloves and coat all day.

I have to practice active-shooter drills and sit in a corner with 29 kids. I have carried the anxiety of knowing I had students who were being neglected and abused.

Every week, I teach 30 classes, totaling more than 750 children, so they will learn and love music. My starting salary was $24,000. Now, I make more than $100,000. I deserve it. Most teachers do.

 — Tiffanie Kempf, Remsenburg

The front-page headline blared out in capital letters: “31,000 LI Educators make $100G+” as if this is bad. In the article, Tim Hoefer, the Empire Center’s president, said, “Despite educational results that continue to hover around mediocre, pay for educators continued to climb, especially on Long Island.”

There is no mention of the three finalists or 38 semifinalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2023, all from Long Island. Although there’s no doubt that these students are highly intelligent and well-motivated, they could not have achieved this without the help and guidance of their teachers and educational system.

 — Lewis Damrauer, Dix Hills

The Sunday paper greeted me with yet another headline implying that educators make too much money. I rarely see an article implying that doctors, lawyers or bankers make too much money. Is that because we value education less than our health, the law and our money, or is it because education is traditionally dominated by women?

 — Ellen Sorge, Syosset

The justification given for the high educators’ salaries is the high cost of living here. Yet more than 40% of property taxes in Nassau and Suffolk counties go to educators’ salaries and benefits. Talk about a self-propagating system! What about the rest of us who do not have the built-in wage escalator clause? We have to pay for this.

 — Bob Ranieri, St. James

Three decades ago, I opted for a salary cut to change careers and work in education. I did this as a single parent to plan for my future.

I am retired. I saved the few vacation days that I could and did not abuse my sick days so I could be paid for a third of those I had accumulated. True, I do not pay state tax on my pension, but I do pay federal taxes, and I pay for my health insurance and Medicare.

My gross income barely covers my expenses, which includes hefty property taxes. A disservice is done to all school and public employees and retirees when school administrators’ buyout and retirement packages are all lumped together with those of us who just get by.

Yes, I got a small boost to my salary for taking extra assignments. I also benefited from the contractual pay for vacation and sick days. But do us a favor: Separate administrators from the working class so the public sees our reality instead of just seeing red.

 — Joan Lazaunik, Great Neck

The article is misleading. It bunched salaries, accrued sick days and invested monies. Most mentioned are administrators.

As far as teachers’ salaries, I have one question: How much should a teacher be paid?

 — Rich Corso, Oceanside

The teachers’ union representatives agree with the pay scale to deal with this region’s insane cost of living. Being a teacher is a challenging job on so many levels.

Let us not forget the teachers’ aides and many school employees who barely make minimum wage who are also living in the same region and have to pay the same taxes.

They don’t get other benefits, such as being paid for school breaks afforded full-time teachers who have a strong union. The aides are grossly underpaid for challenges they face daily. Many encounter students with learning disabilities who have multiple issues that must be handled delicately.

I find it difficult to understand why the aides’ salary scale pales in comparison to the teachers’ salaries.

Perhaps a lesson plan should include a gratitude list.

 — Donna Skjeveland, Holbrook

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