Huffpost Education

Taxpayers Paid $9M For NY Teachers' Cosmetic Work

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo teachers rang up nearly $9 million worth of taxpayer-covered cosmetic surgery in 2009, according to the state-appointed authority overseeing public school finances.

The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority found that last year's costs for elective procedures such as chemical peels and other skin treatments were up $8 million over 2004's $1 million tab for cosmetic surgery.

The procedures, provided under the teachers' union contract, accounted for 9 percent of the district's total spending on health benefits for employees and retirees, The Buffalo News reported Thursday.

About 10,000 school employees are eligible for the benefit. District officials said teachers or their dependents accounted for 90 percent of the approximately 500 people who received cosmetic surgery last year.

The president of the Buffalo Teachers Federation said the union has agreed to give up the benefit in the next contract and said teachers may be simply rushing to use the benefit while they can.

Board of Education member Christopher Jacobs said the cost increase "smacks of abuse" and is asking the district and the city comptroller to investigate.

Most procedures were performed by eight doctors, the newspaper said, including one who billed the district $4.3 million.

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Information from The Buffalo News: http://www.buffalonews.com