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Buffalo School Board Determined to Remove Plastic Surgery Perk from Teachers’ Contracts

Buffalo School Board Determined to Remove Plastic Surgery Perk from Teachers’ Contracts

Since the 1970s, Buffalo, New York has incentivized its teachers with a stipulation that the district will cover plastic surgery costs, including procedures like liposuction and hair removal.

In 2012, an article from The Atlantic shed light on the matter. Contributor Jordan Weissmann said that as teachers increasingly began taking advantage of the perk, the district spent as much as over $9 million one year footing the costs.

Costs that could, according to Weissmann, pay the salaries of another 100 teachers in the city.

For the many decades that the perk has been on the books, Weissmann says it has largely been used for reconstructive surgery; plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes is only just becoming a popular trend thanks to increased technology that allows for non-invasive procedures.

In 2012, Weissmann said that the public was beginning to notice just how much money was being used to pay for cosmetic procedures and a discussion about cutting the perk from the budget was had. Comfort with the teachers’ contract and a lack of desire to sit down to draft a new one stalled negotiations and the perks continued.

Now, four years later, that discussion is coming up again as The Buffalo School Board tries to nix the plastic surgery expenses once again.

On Wednesday, school board members presented their case to the board but members said hat they anticipate fierce opposition from the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

They’re right, because BTF President Phiip Rumore told The Buffalo News "his group would base its case on the school board not removing the perk during contract negotiations, which in itself is a contentious issue in Buffalo. City teachers haven’t actually had a new contract since 2004, but state legislation allows educators to work under the terms of their 12-year-old deal until a new one is approved,” said The New York Post.

While the BTF doesn’t actually oppose removing the surgery perk from teachers’ contracts, the union says a new contract must be approved before such decisions can be made.

Read more about the political battle here.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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