Teachers in Near-Bankrupt School District Get Free Botox, Nose Jobs


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Buffalo, NY teachers get free plastic surgery
12:11 AM, Feb 22, 2012 | 14 comments

Written by
Lindsey Tugman
BUFFALO, NY (CNN) -- As thousands of teachers face layoffs across the country, teachers in Buffalo, New York are getting lipo? Yep. And nose jobs and whatever else they want. All on the taxpayers' dime. How is this happening?

This Buffalo plastic surgeon has a lot of happy patients. Dr. Kulwant S. Bhangoo says, "Let's just suppose I was a woman weighed 300 pounds, and I lost 150-160 pounds."

Indeed, that's what happened to Buffalo school teacher Valerie Akauloa, but it's not just the results that make her happy, it's the sweet deal that she gets.

The sweet deal that all the 3,400 teachers in Buffalo are eligible to get under one of their insurance plan options, they are billed nothing for any plastic surgery procedure, such as botox, liposuction, tummy tucks, and there is no deductible.

Linda Tokarz teaches second grade and says she gets regular treatments. She says, "I think its great for us. I wouldn't want to see it taken away."

Dr. Kulwant Bhangoo has been a plastic surgeon in Buffalo for almost four decades. He says, "I feel the teachers have paid their dues and it would be wrong to take it away from them."

While he does have plenty on non-teacher patients, Dr. Bhangoo does say three out of every 10 are Buffalo teachers and the school district's insurance covers every single penny. They will come in for hair removal on their face, liposuction, breast enhancement, and rhinoplasty.

Dr. Bhangoo is one of many plastic surgeons who advertise in where else the teachers union newsletter.

Last year, Buffalo's schools spent $5.9 million on plastic surgery which is also known as a cosmetic rider. And Buffalo teachers have had this rider for nearly four decades.

Now you might think Buffalo's school district must be flush with cash to be offering perks like free plastic surgery, right? Wrong. Louis Petrucci, the president of the Buffalo Board of Education says he is projecting a $42 million deficit in next year's school budget.

You don't have to be a brain surgeon to know that a plastic surgeon or a teacher would like this policy more than the typical taxpayer. But the teachers will tell you there is more to the story. They say the teachers contract with the city expired nearly a decade ago negotiations for a new one have failed.

And they add they are woefully underpaid. It is quite interesting to hear what the president of the teachers unions says about the plastic surgery benefit. Philip Rumore says, "We've told the district from the beginning of negotiations six or eight years ago that we're willing to give it up, so as long the district comes back to the table with us, it's gone." When asked, "Do you feel as a gesture of good faith, the union should say, teachers, no more free plastic surgery?" Rumore responds, "It would be a wonderful gesture of good faith. We're willing to give it up. All the district has to do is come to the table and negotiate with us. But not willing to do it unilaterally."

Fact is that police and firefighters in Buffalo have similar plastic surgery programs, but those departments are not dealing with the same financial problems as the economically challenged school system.

But at least for now, the policy remains in a school district with a unique mix of brain and beauty.
How many more times do we have to hear about how they care about students first and all that?

In a related story, one of the worst performing school districts in the country, LAUSD, is preparing to lay off 5,000 teachers rather than take a hit to their sweet benefit packages. That should be good for the kids, right?

How Is Firing 5,000 LAUSD Teachers Preferable to Chipping at Their Huge, Union-Protected Health Benefits?
By Simone Wilson Thu., Feb. 17 2011 at 4:00 PM Comments (20)

​Either we're missing something here, or this is the biggest no-brainer in the history of L.A. education (teehee, oxymoron).
The Los Angeles Unified School District is facing at least a $408 million budget shortfall for the 2011-12 school year. No matter what, someone -- make that many someones -- will suffer.

So we're reduced to talking about priorities. And isn't an across-the-board skim off L.A. teachers' hefty health-benefit packages better than laying off thousands of teachers completely, upping class sizes and throwing schoolkids off track?

If both the State Legislature and California taxpayers (yes, that means you) begrudgingly approve Governor Jerry Brown's tax extensions this spring, LAUSD's shortfall will shrink to about $225 million.

Swell! But... that's obviously still a nine-figure problem.

So, at their meeting on Tuesday, the LAUSD Board of Education members decided to issue 7,300 preliminary layoff notices to "district teachers, principals, counselors, nurses and librarians" [LA Daily News]. That includes 5,000 teachers. Not all of them will necessarily be fired, especially if Brown's extra tax money flows in; it's just a state-mandated warning so they can brace for the worst.

But we're confused. Wouldn't they rather let their health benefits pick at their paychecks a teeny bit instead of losing their jobs cold-turkey?

According to the Daily News, all LAUSD employees and their families get 100 percent of their health premiums covered by the district. Over half the school districts in California choose to make their employees pay at least part of that cost.

Currently, employee health benefits drain LAUSD of $1 billion every year, or one-fifth of its total budget. If a mere fraction of those premiums were pulled from employee paychecks, the entire budget deficit would be filled.

​But that's not up the Board of Education. That's up to a committee comprised of reps from the 12 employee unions who protect L.A. school workers. And, as union heads can be counted on to do, United Teachers of Los Angeles union head A.J. Duffy is standing his ground. From the Daily News:
The committee has amassed a reserve of more than $200 million over which it remains control. ...
[But Duffy] said the reserve is supposed to be used to pay for rising health care costs.

"We have an agreement with the district, that any savings due to efficiencies agreed to by the bargaining committee would stay with the committee," Duffy said.

"Sooner or later we will have use it to offset the increased cost of health benefits."

However, speaking of priorities, incoming LAUSD Superintendent-to-be John Deasy says that Duffy's are way down the list: "If they share a fractional cost of their premiums, and use their surplus, we could avoid nearly all layoffs and furloughs and bring kids back to school full-time."

Like we said: Freaking no-brainer. But Duffy can't seem to make the connection. In response to the board's layoff decision on Tuesday, he released this statement:

"This large number of proposed layoffs shows that LAUSD has clearly abandoned its all-too-frequent, and hollow, promise to 'keep cuts away from the classroom.' UTLA demands that the School Board and the superintendent re-evaluate their budget and identify areas of waste and excess to cut. No pot of money or expenditure should be left unexamined. The District's cuts to teachers and support staff year after year have taken their toll on both students and educators and will do permanent harm to students who deserve a world-class education."
Yeah, well, who but a soulless bastard wouldn't agree with that last part. As for the "pot o' money" Duffy mentions, uh... we know of a pretty fat one that's all but begging to be relieved of its coinage.

"This is the worst thing I've seen after 42 years in education," board member Richard Vladovic told the Daily News.

Ouch. Still, he voted the budget through on Tuesday. Only two members did not: Steve Zimmer and Margaret LaMotte. We spoke to Zimmer today, who urged us to watch the video of the board meeting (and that's not something he often recommends).

When asked about the premiums in particular, Zimmer took a more broad approach, answering that he thinks that instead of jumping into extreme layoffs, "everything needs to be put on the table... salary cuts, furlough days, health benefits, everything."

So, in essence, he nods his head yes.

Zimmer adds that there are "areas of significant but less drastic pain" that could be targeted within LAUSD, and says more emphasis needs to be put on raising money -- by lobbying and recruiting private-sector dollars -- instead of just accepting the state and federal deficit in defeat.

He also tells us the layoffs would take the average kindergarten class size from 24 to 29 students per teacher.

Whereas last year, Zimmer felt like state and city leaders "really took a united approach at climbing the budget mountain together," he thinks priorities shifted this year.

"The best thing for kids is to have the best teachers in front of them in the classroom," he says. "That should be the No. 1 concern." And a mass teacher layoff, he explains, is the most de-stabilizing thing that could possibly happen to those classrooms.

Duffy's secretary says he can't talk today. We'll keep trying, though, because at this point, we're hungry for even a single half-hearted answer as to how 100 percent health premiums could possibly be more important than keeping 5,000 teachers on board.
The hot blonde teacher with huge tits who boards here has a shitty salary but very good benefits but methinks plastic surgery is not included.


On Jew Island, they overpay them and they still have awesome benny's, too. Don't think they have the plastic surgery one.
On Jew Island, they overpay them and they still have awesome benny's, too. Don't think they have the plastic surgery one.
Ya I told her about the "Rubber Room" teachers in NYC... where they earn like 250k to Facebook all day...
One of the saddest films I've ever seen:


The things the teachers unions do make me angry from so many angles it's mind blowing.