It’s now possible to find out in just a couple of clicks how much any city Department of Education employee is paid, from the chancellor ($250,000 a year) to hourly school aides ($7.15 an hour, the minimum wage).

The Empire Center for New York State Policy, a project of the Manhattan Institute, today added New York City workers to its searchable database of state employees on SeeThroughNY.net, a site that aims to expose how state tax dollars are spent.

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is the highest-paid city employee, taking home a quarter of a million dollars every year. Other top earners, with salaries of $196,575, include Jim Liebman, who heads the DOE’s accountability office; Eric Nadelstern, who runs the empowerment schools network; and Christopher Cerf, the chancellor’s deputy in charge of organization. Marcia Lyles, the top-ranking educator in the department, takes home $203,000. According to a summary provided by the Empire Center, more than 11 percent of full-time teachers draw salaries over $100,000.

The database can’t be used to find some information advocates have sought about DOE spending, such as how much each department of the central administration is allocated or how many people work in each department. Nor is the system perfectly up to date. (Terence Tolbert, who died in November, is still in the database, for example.)

Liz Benjamin, on her Daily News blog, explains:

According to Empire Center spokesman Lise Bang-Jensen, the database offers a snapshot of the city workforce as of June 30, 2008, the end of the last fiscal year, and represents the payroll of 85 agencies.

It includes base salaries, but not overtime, shift differentials and other extra pay. It does not reflect the latest round of municipal labor agreements, which increased the pay of many city workers by 4 percent this year, or any raises and promotions given to managerial employees over the past six months.

Still, there’s plenty of interesting information to be found for those who are willing to spend some time digging. I’ll be doing some digging of my own, with more posts to follow.