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Board wants to eliminate cosmetic surgery rider

Posted at 11:22 AM, Jun 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 12:52:34-04

The Buffalo School Board may vote to eliminate a controversial plan that has gained world wide attention Wednesday. It wants to pass a resolution that would drop $5 million in funding for cosmetic surgery for teachers. 

Most can agree cosmetic surgery isn't exactly a necessity for employment contracts. “It's not something that I think is appropriate for an employment contract,” said Ed Hutton. “I mean, there are certain things that are important in an employment contract like the salary you get paid, the hours that you work, those types of things, but this doesn't have anything to do with it,” he added.

But, it's been part of the Buffalo Teachers Federation contract for the last 20 years. Federation President, Phil Rumore said the Buffalo School Board shouldn't be allowed to get rid of it without union approval. “When you make an agreement with somebody, which the board has done, the way to make changes to it is through negotiations and we've told them in negotiations that we're willing to give it up,” Rumore said.

Rumore said they believe they should negotiate something else to replace the cosmetic perk. Instead, he said the board is dictating what to do. “They think they can just take things out of the contract willy nilly and they can't do that.”

Board member Carl Paladino said the board is looking to close a budget surplus and it would rather use the funding for things like smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grades and neighborhood schools. He said those are changes that would positively impact teachers.

Still, the federation said the board shouldn't act without consulting it first. 

Taxpayers we spoke to say cosmetic surgery funding is unnecessary. But, the board should adhere to the terms of the contract.

“Teachers should have a say. I think they already get the short end of the stick a lot and their voices should be the ones who are heard,” said Jill Gavin.

“I think it is important now that they negotiate in good faith. That's what they agreed to,” added Hutton. 

The Board meeting will take place at Waterfront Elementary School at 5:30 p.m.