NEWBURGH, N.Y. – Almost a year ago, teachers in the Newburgh, New York school district were angered over an administrative proposal to eliminate 17 teaching assistant positions.

where your school dollars goSuperintendent Roberto Padilla recommended the cuts so the district would have enough money to hire five new kindergarten teachers and decrease class sizes, according to

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“If we’re going to add five kindergarten teachers, we need to cut somewhere,” Padilla was quoted as saying by the news service.

Considering the academic track record of Newburgh students, perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to eliminate instructional personnel.

If the district needed to find money to hire more teachers, it might have taken a close look at the top end of its payroll.

A total of 285 employees were paid a gross salary of more than $100,000 in 2014-15, according to statistics published by Newsday. Their total compensation for the year came to a cool $33 million.

The top 15 on that list all made at least $150,000. A total of 33 made at least $140,000 while 54 made at least $130,000.

Of course the 10 highest paid employees were all school administrators, and they were paid very well indeed.

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The biggest money went to Padilla, who grossed $200,000.

He was followed by Principal Ventura Lopez ($175,544), Executive Director of Human Resources Michael McLymore ($166,114), Principal Matteo Doddo ($164,106), Assistant Principal David Berryann ($161,768), Deputy Superintendent Edward Forgit ($161,400), Principal Melissa Siegel ($160,257), Assistant Principal Susan Valentino ($160,209), Principal Raul Rodriguez ($157,997), and CSE Chair Patricia Decaterina ($155,988).

Collectively those 10 employees made $1.66 million.

Those astronomical salaries haven’t equaled high test scores for students.

In state testing in 2014-15, involving English and math for grades 3-8 and science for grades 4 and 8, the Newburgh district lagged badly behind the rest of the state.

The percentage of Newburgh students who demonstrated proficiency in the 12 English and math categories trailed the statewide percentage in every category, and the difference in percentage was double digits in all but one category.

Fewer than 30 percent of Newburgh students were proficient in English and math in all grades that were tested.

Newburgh students bottomed out in eighth-grade math, with only seven percent proficient.