New York’s highest paid teacher took home $530,000 in 2017, a staggering total attributed to a settlement agreement with the Hamburg Central High School that concluded three years on paid leave.

Former teacher Martha Kavanaugh’s retirement payout came in more than a quarter-million dollars higher than the state’s second-highest paid educator, but recently released data from the state’s retirement system shows six-figure salaries are increasingly common in upstate schools.

“From Albany to Buffalo, teacher salaries vary widely between school districts, but in nearly every country in Upstate New York, there are some teachers who earn over six figures,” NYUP.com reports.

Educators in Erie County topped the list, which was compiled based on the top three teacher salaries paid out in the 2017-18 school year.

Eric Benson, a teacher at Buffalo Public Schools’ Newcomer Academy, recorded the second highest pay at $235,415. Both Kavanaugh and Benson hail from Erie County.

Five other counties – Orange, Putnam, Sullivan, Ulster, and Dutchess – reported educator salaries of more than $150,000 per year, while eight others paid at least one educator more than $125,000, according to the news site.

The top 10 highest paid teachers in the region included Kavanaugh, Benson, Washingtonville High School’s Katrina Kiernan at $186,482, Goshen High School’s Robert Karchawer at $178,622, Newburgh Free Academy’s Bernadette Saladino at $176,081, Carmel High School’s Amanda Lynne at $173,072, Brewster High School’s Denise Maslak at $172,469, Carmel High School’s George Coates at $171,344, Timothy Potts at Robert J. Kaiser Middle School with a salary of $154,110, and Joseph Zupan at Leptondale Elementary School with his $150,823 salary.

Teacher salaries in New York and many other states are tied directly to union contracts that spell out automatic annual salary increases, unused sick day payments, cost of living increases, special stipends and retirement contributions, and other incentives that typically increase take home pay at a much faster rate than most taxpayers realize.

In neighboring New Jersey, the Department of Education recently released figures that show nearly 10,000 educators in that state now make at least $100,000 per year, the Point Pleasant Patch reports.

The news site reports the list of those who broke six figures “barely had any teachers on it more than a decade ago.”

New Jersey’s top three highest-paid teachers included Memorial High School’s Mayra Berckes at $152,146, Ross Street Elementary School Teacher Tammy Giordano with a salary of $149,169, and Belleville High School teacher Joy Alfano, who took home $145,798.

A total of 95 New Jersey teachers collected $125,000 or more last year, while 767 educators were paid at least $115,000.

The Ashbury Park Press ranked states based on teacher pay using 2017 salary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The analysis found New York topped the list with an average teacher salary of $76,680 per year, followed by Alaska at $76,134, Connecticut at $74,806, California at $71,666, Massachusetts at $69,219, New Jersey at $68,294, Virginia at $66,389, Rhode Island at $64,261, Maryland at $63,268 and Oregon with an average salary of $63,074.