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Judge Rejects Single Health Carrier for Buffalo Teachers

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo School District has been rebuffed in its attempt to implement a single health insurance carrier for district employees.

State Supreme Court Justice Patrick Nemoyer issued an injunction Monday that prevents the district from moving forward with the plan. The budget approved by the Board of Education last week called for consolidating the district's carriers from four to one.

Interim Schools Superintendent Yvonne Hargrave claimed no employee would have been required to change the plan of benefits they currently have.

Hargrave said she's disappointed by the judge's ruling. She said the school board will now have to approve a back-up budget that includes 250 layoffs. She said the number of laid off teachers and other employees could reach 600 by 2007.

Hargrave said cuts in the coming year will affect instructional and staff development programs and the hiring of new security guards.

The Buffalo Teachers Federation had challenged the single health carrier plan, claiming it was a violation of their contract.