As 3 percent of New York teachers -- which translates to more than 7,000 teachers -- fell prey to layoffs this year, around 3,400 teachers in Buffalo, New York can get any plastic surgery procedure, such as botox or tummy tucks, free of charge, CNN reports.
The deal is a part of one of the educators' insurance plan options, which offers no-cost, no-deductible plastic surgery procedures. It's included as a self-insured rider in teachers' contracts, so the district covers the cost of every procedure.
Linda Tokarz, a second-grade teacher who receives regular treatments, tells CNN it's a valuable service for the teachers.
"I think its great for us," Tokarz said, "I wouldn't want to see it taken away."
According to a report by Buffalo station WGRZ, the issue isn't a new phenomenon, despite recent national attention.
"As 2 On Your Side [WGRZ] has reported for nearly a year and a half, the coverage has become more and more expensive. Although it's been around for around 4 decades, in recent years the costs have skyrocketed.
In 2009, the cost was more than $9 million. Last fiscal year, the district spent $5.2 million for the coverage."
The rider was initially meant to cover reconstructive surgery from serious accidents and burn victims, according to The Buffalo News.
Since then, the cosmetic surgery industry has boomed, and Buffalo plastic surgeons started advertising directly to teachers through newsletters. According to an extensive report by the Atlantic, one doctor billed the district $4 million -- some of which is paid with public dollars.
So far, the teachers union isn't interested in making any changes to the rider.
"The urgency of negotiating a new contract isn't really there," Buffalo Schools Interim Superintendant Amber Dixon told the Atlantic. "You get to keep your benefits. You get to keep your cosmetic rider. You get to keep your 2.5% step increase. It makes getting back to the table difficult."
At one point, the Buffalo school board allegedly offered a trade: it would avoid 100 school layoffs if the union would table plastic surgery for a year. They declined the offer.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the school district was unwilling to negotiate the cosmetic surgery rider. The teachers' union is resisting its elimination.
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