Blog

10 Oct
0

Texas Retired Teachers Foundation: Empowering Educators!

Support the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation by viewing and sharing this video!
The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) preserves the legacies of public school personal through its charitable giving. Emily Tannert, a high school band teacher in Georgetown, Texas, explains her reaction to receiving a grant from the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). TRTF’s foundation month is in November, but you can donate now at trtf.org!
The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation’s (TRTF) annual fund-raising event, Foundation Month, begins in November. Foundation Month seeks to fund charitable programs such as classroom assistance grants.

TRTF awards 15 classroom assistance grants yearly, each worth $500. These grants make a positive impact in the lives of active teachers by providing funding for projects and equipment that would otherwise be inaccessible.

TRTF is committed to improving the past, present and future of teaching in Texas. But we can only do so much before exhausting available funding resources.

TRTF needs your help to continue the charitable programs that comfort retired teachers, inspire active teachers and enable future teachers to achieve their dreams.

Since 2008, TRTF has provided more than $170,000 to public school retirees, teachers and students. This type of impact would not be possible if not for the generous donations provided by you.

Throughout the month of November, Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) local units will be accepting donations towards TRTF. You have the power to make a change through the simple act of charity.

Please consider donating on the TRTF website, trtf.org, or over the phone at 1.800.880.1650.

You can look forward to a new TRTF video update every week throughout the month of October!

Show your support for our vital charitable programs by sharing these videos now and throughout the months of October and November! To watch the first update, please click the video below.

Thank You
Thank you for being a member of TRTA and for supporting the Foundation’s charitable endeavors. The Foundation’s very existence is dependent upon YOU. If 2,000 TRTA members donate $50 each, we can raise $100,000!

If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook! Visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates, including our month-long series of Foundation videos!

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03 Oct
0

Texas Retired Teachers Foundation: Connecting Generations of Educators!


Support the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation by viewing and sharing this video!
The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) preserves the legacies of public school personal through its charitable giving. Jamie Larson, a retired band teacher, was inspired to become TRTF Board Trustee after seeing his former band hall custodian receiving food at a food bank. TRTF assists retirees in need through its “Helping Hand” program. You can donate to TRTF online here!

With the new school year underway, many members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) have been attending local unit meetings and preparing for the upcoming legislative session. The fall is also the time of year that we gather together for good meals and great company.

In the spirit of the season, the TRTA Board of Directors chooses November as the month to honor its charitable partner, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). TRTF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded and maintained by Texas public education retirees.

TRTA members dedicated their entire lives to education. Many of our children and now grandchildren are now following in our footsteps!

This great education legacy carries on through the Foundation’s four charitable programs, each with a unique focus that allows us to help educators of the past, present and future: “A Helping Hand,” Classroom Assistance Grants, Student Scholarships and the Legacy Campaign. TRTF is truly connecting generations of educators!

The next issue of The VOICE is dedicated to the Foundation and our members’ donations to these programs. Your donations to TRTF have provided more than $170,000 to public school teachers, students, and retirees since 2008. That includes supporting 67 public school teachers, 74 future educators, and 64 retirees!

For the very first time, The VOICE will also include the Foundation’s Annual Appeal Letter! Using The VOICE for our annual appeal saves thousands of dollars in postage, meaning thousands more can be dedicated to our charitable programs!

We hope you will enjoy the third quarter issue of The VOICE and consider making a tax-deductible donation to TRTF. If you do not want to wait to show your support, you may donate online here or call us at 1.800.880.1650 to donate by credit card over the phone.

Look forward to a new Foundation video every week throughout the month of October! Please continue showing your support for our vital charitable programs by sharing these videos now and throughout the months of October and November!

Thank You
Thank you for being a member of TRTA and for supporting the Foundation’s charitable endeavors. The Foundation’s very existence is dependent upon YOU. If 2,000 TRTA members donate $50 each, we can raise $100,000!

If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook! Visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates, including our month-long series of Foundation videos!

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25 Sep
0

Senate Finance Committee Meets to Discuss TRS Funding

The Senate Finance Committee met at the Capitol building in Austin yesterday to consider the current status and funding needs of several state agencies and programs for the next biennium.

The committee heard invited testimony from the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), which provided presentations about major cost drivers for the state budget. The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), one of the state’s largest agencies, was included in this presentation. The LBB discussed not only funding for the TRS pension fund, but also the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

When the LBB informed the Senate Finance Committee of the impending $1 billion TRS-Care budget shortfall, an audible gasp was heard from among the committee members.

The not-so-secret funding crisis has been looming for years and can no longer be avoided. If nothing is done during the coming legislative session to resolve this funding issue, TRS-Care participants could see astronomical premium increases as high as 130 percent! TRS retirees live on stagnant incomes, with only one permanent increase in their pensions since 2001 (which did not apply to all 300,000+ annuitants).

In their appropriations request made earlier this year to the LBB, TRS asked for a supplemental appropriation of nearly $900,000,000. This is in addition to the 1 percent of active teacher payroll that is commonly provided to TRS-Care during each fiscal year, which was also requested.

Patti Featherston of the LBB testified that the pension fund is healthy. Finance Committee member Senator Joan Huffman pointed out the fund is actuarially sound according to state law. TRS has a funding period of 28 years. Prior to the passage of Senate Bill 1458 in 2013, the funding period was never. TRS has 1.4 million members, which includes active and retired educators. In 2013, they paid out $8.1 billion in annuity payments to retirees.

Featherston’s comments about TRS-Care and its projected shortfall prompted some Senators to express concern. Senator Judith Zaffirini said retirees in her area are worried about TRS-Care funding depletion, and asked Featherston what options aside from an infusion of funds are being considered to address its solvency.

Featherston stated the LBB is reviewing several potential options, as is TRS, which is in the process of finalizing a sustainability study about the program. The study is slated for release in October.

We reviewed several of the options that we being considered by TRS over the summer. Please see the links below to read our reviews of each option.

Senator Robert Nichols said most school districts don’t pay into Social Security, leaving many retirees who live on their TRS annuity alone in a “pretty tough” position. Senator Charles Schwertner requested additional information about what factors are driving up the cost of the health care program after hearing from the LBB that the medical cost trend is 7 percent.

Though TRTA was not able to testify in yesterday’s hearing, several local area members of TRTA attended to show their support for the organization and their fellow retirees.

While no decisions were made in the meeting, it served as one of the first steps our legislators are taking in determining how to handle the TRS-Care funding crisis.

Though session is still several months away, we must begin contacting our Representatives and Senators NOW and telling them how vital TRS-Care is to us! To learn more about contacting your legislators, click here.

Thank You!

Thank you for being a member of TRTA! If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook! Visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates!

TRS-Care Sustainability Study: TRTA Review, Summer 2014
Read more about Option 1: Pre-funding the long-term liability.
Read more about Option 2: Funding on a pay-as-you-go basis
Read more about Option 3: Funding for 10-year solvency
Read more about Option 4: Retirees pay full cost of optional coverage
Read more about Option 5: Mandatory participation in the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans
Read the follow-up to Option 5
Read more about Option 6: Defined contribution–Establish a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) for non-Medicare retirees
Read more about Options 7, 8 and 9

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