Every so often, a story comes along that is so outrageous, all one can do to soothe the rage is to laugh. And shed a tear. That’s the case in Buffalo, New York.
There – for years – teachers in the government education system have enjoyed free plastic surgery procedures, courtesy of taxpayers. Teachers don’t pay a dime and the entire cost is borne by the school district. So a school district that recently announced it is operating with a $42 million deficit paid $5.9 million last year for teachers to get boob jobs, tummy tucks and facelifts.
I’m sure the union just wants its members looking their best for the kids. How thoughtful. But the Buffalo school district has a graduation rate below 50 percent. What a shame there are fewer students to see the gussied-up teaching staff. It makes the $5.9 million the school district spent on plastic surgery last year an even bigger jaw-dropper. Could those dollars have been put into programs designed to keep more kids in school?
There are two reasons this continues to happen: school leaders are too weak to do anything about outrageous expenses written into teachers union collective bargaining agreements. They apparently refuse to take a moral stand and at least give the appearance of trying to end the financial drain. They just continue paying the bill.
They should display some backbone, force a confrontation with the union over this outrageous expense, and force a judge to order the school district to pay for the surgeries. That will help the public better understand how unions siphon millions of crucial dollars from school budgets.
The second reason is known as an evergreen clause, which is a provision in many teachers union contracts which states the terms of an expired contract remain in effect until a new contract is approved. Buffalo’s contract has been expired for 6 years. But fearing concessions – like no more free skin peels – the union drags its feet and won’t agree on a new deal. The deck is stacked against the taxpayers and politicians aren’t doing anything about it.
Remember this example the next time you hear President Obama or other politicians say we need to “invest” more in education. Remember this when your local school board is pleading with you to increase your taxes to avoid layoffs or pay for necessary technology upgrades. This is the sort of outrageous crap your taxes are funding.
On the other hand, as we hear about sagging teacher morale, perhaps schools can give some thought to perking up teachers’ spirit by paying for a little plastic surgery. Since Buffalo Public Schools and many like it are a public works project for adults anyway, why not make the population a little more youthful? Randi Weingarten, what say you?