Niagara Gazette — Of Western New York’s 98 school districts, both Niagara Falls and Niagara-Wheatfield rank in the top 15 in the category of paying their educators.
Buffalo Business First recently released its rankings of the top-paying districts, with Niagara Falls coming in at No. 6.
Niagara Falls Superintendent Cynthia Bianco said the district’s ranking is about right.
“I think it’s right where it should be,” Bianco said. “We’re an inner-city school district with a lot of students. The teachers need to be paid to attract the best. And I think the teachers are paid accordingly.”
Bianco said the teachers who teach in Niagara Falls have a residency requirement they must fulfill, which other comparable-sized districts don’t have.
Business First conducts an annual review of Western New York school operations, releasing rankings based on various categories. The newspaper analyzed pay levels at the fifth, 25th, 50th, 75th and 95th percentiles in each district, using official data from the New York State Education Department.
Percentiles indicate the ranking of a given salary within a district’s payroll. A salary at the 25th percentile, for example, is larger than 25 percent of all teachers’ salaries in that district.
Niagara Falls’ 95th percentile figure was $88,420, meaning only the top 5 percent of salaries in the district were counted.
Meanwhile, Niagara-Wheatfield wasn’t in the top 10, but didn’t miss by much. Ranking at No. 11, School Board President Steven Sabo said the district, too, is right where he’d expect it to be.
Sabo approached the rankings, which have the district paying $87,720 to its 95th percentile, as a ranking more by district size and population rather than how much money teachers are making.
“All the districts around us are top-tier districts,” he said. “We fall right in line with Clarence (No. 12) and Lockport (No. 13). You’re not going to find Niagara-Wheatfield at No. 50 with Byron-Bergen.”