Most retired employees of the Buffalo school district receive a benefit not enjoyed by their counterparts in suburban school districts – lifetime health insurance. And not just any old health insurance, but about the best money can buy.

This coverage, provided to an average of about 4,200 retirees, including teachers and administrators, doesn’t come cheap.

The bill for the budget year that is winding down is a projected $66 million. That’s more than the $64 million the district is spending on health insurance for active employees.

One parent leader criticized the spending in light of the district’s subpar graduation rate.

“You’re going to spend the majority of taxpayer’s dollar that’s there to educate their kids in the system today on paying the health care of people who are retired,” said Samuel Radford, president of the Buffalo School District Parent Coordinating Council.

District officials say the cost of health insurance for retirees needs to be addressed.

“This is something that has become a priority in any negotiation that we engage in,” said Nathaniel Kuzma, the district’s general counsel. “Otherwise we’re going to see as part of our budget bigger and bigger chunks being taken out not going into the classroom because we have these contractual obligations to provide benefits to our employees.”

You can read the entire story by our partners at Investigative Post here.