BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Should the Buffalo Public School district, and by extension, taxpayers, continue to pick up the full tab for teachers to have cosmetic surgery? That’s the question the school board is set to take up at its meeting Wednesday evening.
Right now, coverage for plastic surgery is included as part of a self-insured rider in the contract with the teachers union. With one insurance option, teachers pay no co-pay for everything from Botox injections to breast implants.
That contract expired more than a decade ago, but under state law, the terms continue until a new contract is approved. The cosmetic surgery rider has been in the teachers’ contract for decades, since long before many plastic surgery procedures became common.
The district spends millions of dollars a year on plastic surgery procedures for teachers, and some district leaders argue that is money the district can’t afford to spend. They’ve said what they spend is enough to hire 240 new teachers each year.
For it’s part, the teachers’ union has said it would be glad to remove the cosmetic surgery rider, but only as part of a new, fair contract.
Buffalo Teachers Federation president Phil Rumore told News 4 any move by the school board to unilaterally remove a provision of their contract would be a “slap in the face” for teachers. Rumore said this is just another example of why the teachers can’t get a contract, and claimed the school board was not negotiating in good faith.
Rumore said the union will go to court to fight the district over the cosmetic surgery coverage if needed, and Rumore said he’s confident the union will win.
State law allows the district to take actions that they believe would facilitate negotiations, and some district leaders are saying this change to the contract terms would do that. Rumore says that argument does not hold up, because this would do the opposite of facilitating negotiations.
The union rejected a contract offer from the district in January of this year.
The school board is scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss its next move on the cosmetic surgery coverage.