BPS board takes away teacher benefit; could lead to legal battle

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo School Board voted to take away a benefit teachers have had for years.

It’s a cosmetic surgery rider that’s been a part of the district’s contract with the teacher’s union, or the expired contract, since 2004.

The school board wanted to remove this provision because it costs the district millions of dollars a year.

During Wednesday night’s meeting, board member Larry Quinn said he would like to see this money go towards teachers salaries instead of cosmetic surgery. Board member Carl Paladino said that very few people benefit from this cosmetic rider and teachers would rather have smaller class sizes.

The board passed the resolution, 6-3, which ultimately gets rid of the cosmetic surgery rider and earmarks this money for teacher’s salaries.

The teachers union said they would agree to get rid of the cosmetic surgery rider only if they got a new, fair contract, but the contract was not discussed at the meeting.

Still, all of this will likely lead to a legal challenge.

“The Taylor Law has a provision that has not been defined by court cases because nobody has bothered suing on it. Nobody has bothered taking advantage of the clause so, we’re willing to take advantage of the clause. Yes, it’s going to cost attorney fees, we’re talking about a multi-million dollar contract, we’re going to have to pay attorneys to represent our interest and to lay down the law with this union once and for all,” said Paladino.

The Teachers Federation President, Phil Rumore said removing the cosmetic surgery provision without a new contract is a slap in the face to teachers.

Teachers have been working under a contract that expired more than a decade ago.

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