Legislative Updates

The Importance of Foundation Month

It’s Foundation Month! In my mind, I believe it’s been Foundation Month in the great state of Texas ever since the first school opened before the Republic of Texas was established. Teachers are the foundation for everything good that happens in our state. We know that teachers make things happen. Our patience, love, knowledge, dedication and generous spirit make Texas great.

However, we also know that for all the good we do, the appreciation and salary is not commensurate. Fortunately, that does not hinder what we have and want to give to others. Your Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) does what its name implies. We are the base, the underlying structure that supports our members.

Comments (0)
Tags: TRTF
Interim Charges Released for 84th Texas Legislature

This month, interim charges were released for the 84th Texas Legislature by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus. As the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) mentioned in an Inside Line article last week, Texas public education retirees are on the minds of our state legislators right now, and much will be accomplished by committees during the interim that impacts your livelihood.

Comments (5)
Tags: 84th Texas Legislative Session, TRS-Care
TRTF's Student Scholarships Paving the Way for Future Educators

The first scholarship Kelsey Faykus ever received was from the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). A first-year student at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Faykus is studying to become a high school biology teacher.

Last spring, TRTF provided Faykus with a $500 student scholarship to help her pursue her dreams. Faykus enters Southwestern University having been recruited by the school to play basketball. 

Comments (1)
Tags: TRTF
Breaking: Lt. Gov. Patrick Appoints TRS-Care Study Group Senators

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appointed three Senators to the TRS-Care Study Group today:

  • Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
  • Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls)
Comments (8)
Tags: 84th Texas Legislative Session, TRS-Care
TRS Releases Pension Fund Valuation, Reports on Status of TRS-Care

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) released its annual valuation of the pension trust fund yesterday. The nation’s sixth largest pension fund presently has $128.5 billion held in trust for over 350,000 Texas public education retirees and 1,000,000 pre-retirees. This figure is down from $132.7 billion August 2014. Additionally, TRS reported that the fund earned a return of -0.3% for FY 2015.

The period of time to amortize the fund’s unfunded liabilities has grown from 29.8 years in 2013 to 33.3 years. This means that at this moment in time, the pension fund is not actuarially sound by state law. In order to meet this threshold, the fund must be able to pay off all unfunded liabilities within a 31-year time period.

Comments (8)
Tags: 84th Texas Legislative Session, TRS-Care
Texas Retired Teachers Foundation's "A Helping Hand" Program in Action

Jane Pickett’s eyes come alive when she’s talking about jump rope. Her voice steadies and her confidence soars as she explains the techniques and intricacies involved in a sport that she coached for 25 years.

Since she was four years old, Pickett knew that she wanted to teach physical education, and after she grew up, she was so entwined with the education of jump rope that she earned the title of “The Grandmother of Jump Rope.”

Comments (2)
Tags: 84th Texas Legislative Session, TRS-Care
TRTF Classroom Assistance Grants Enabling Educators' Successes

As each class ends, Teresa Carroll has her students form a line. She gives each child a hug, wishes them well and sends them on their way.

Carroll doesn’t get to see her students as often as she would like or for as long as she would like, but she makes the best of her circumstances by exuding energy in each facet of her teaching.

Comments (0)
Tags: 84th Texas Legislative Session, TRS-Care
TRTA Members Push Congress to Act on Medicare B Premium Hike

Phone calls from Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) members have pushed Congress towards a Medicare Part B compromise. As we reported two weeks ago, Medicare Part B premiums are set to increase next year for retirees whose premiums are not automatically deducted from their Social Security benefit payments.

The originally proposed premium increase would affect approximately 30 percent of Medicare Part B recipients, including retired educators who are impacted by the Government Pension Offset (GPO) or the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) but who do not receive enough Social Security income to have their Medicare Part B premiums automatically deducted.

Comments (11)
Tags: 84th Texas Legislative Session, TRS-Care
Planting the Seeds: TRTF Classroom Assistance Grants in Action

Randy Mayer has spent 15 years teaching; but in his three years with Hays ISD, he’s found an uncommon amount of support for his non-traditional methods.

Mayer teaches students with special needs at an alternative school in Buda, Texas. He is a master gardener who has been craving the opportunity to educate students through the medium of horticulture.

Comments (0)
Tags: 84th Texas Legislative Session, TRS-Care
TRS Hosts Town Hall Meeting, Discusses Future of TRS-Care

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) held a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, October 22 to discuss the health care programs administered by the agency, including the TRS-Care retiree insurance program.

This meeting was just the first step in finding solutions to the program’s funding instability. Though we won one battle in securing additional funding for TRS-Care in 2015, the war is far from over! 

Comments (3)
Tags: 84th Texas Legislative Session, TRS-Care