Check out this jaw-dropping story from EAGnews.org:
Just call them the “Real School Employees of Buffalo.”
Like the rich folks in the famous television show with the similar name, employees of Buffalo Public Schools routinely spend a great deal of money on extravagant things like plastic surgery, airline travel, expensive hotels and limousines.
The only difference is that the wealthy people in “Real Housewives” are spending their own money. In Buffalo they’re throwing around taxpayer dollars.
EAGnews recently completed an inspection of credit card records and the check registry for the City of Buffalo School District in 2011. We also filed a freedom of information request to measure the latest cost of the district’s infamous employee cosmetic surgery program.
The dollar figures we found were breathtaking, and not in a good way.
The amount spent on cosmetic surgery for teachers came to $2.7 million. The total cost for hotels, airline tickets, limousines and the like came to $196,986. You read it correctly. A struggling public school district with a budget deficit of nearly $50 million spent almost $3 million in one year on plastic surgery and travel. District officials declined an invitation to explain these expenses before publication of this story.
One local media outlet, WGRZ-TV (NBC 2), already picked up this story and ran a report last night.
We don’t suppose the taxpayers of Buffalo will be too amused the next time they are asked to approve a tax increase for general operations. School officials have already demonstrated they can’t handle large sums of money in any sort of responsible fashion. Who in their right mind would give them any more to waste?
Union negotiated facelifts
What’s more amazing than a struggling public school district paying the total cost of elective cosmetic surgery for employees?
The fact that the program has been public knowledge for a few years now, and nobody has done anything to stop it.
As the Atlantic put it in a 2010 story, “Hair removal. Microdermabrasion. Liposuction. If you name the procedure, it’s probably covered. This is a city where the average teacher makes $52,000 a year. The plastic surgery tab would pay salaries for 100 extra educators.”
The program is the result of a negotiated provision in the Buffalo teacher union collective bargaining agreement, dating back to the 1970s. In later decades cosmetic surgery boomed in America and doctors began advertising to Buffalo teachers in their union newsletter, according to the Atlantic.