The Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) Board of Directors voted unanimously on Tuesday, July 14 to impose a hold on all TRTA-affiliated in-person meetings across the state through the end of 2020. This includes all district fall conferences and local unit meetings, as well as smaller in-person gatherings such as district or local unit executive committee meetings.

The decision was not made lightly and was made for the concern of the health and safety of all members of TRTA. With the rising number of cases of coronavirus in Texas, the board decided the potential negative outcome of in-person meetings that may inadvertently result in a health crisis for any TRTA member is too great.

Tim Lee recorded a Facebook Live video discussing this decision as well as the recent Scott Burns article on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund. The Burns article discusses the investment practices—and their benefits and downfalls—of the TRS pension fund. TRTA’s response to the article is available here. TRTA supports the TRS investment team, but retirees have had concerns about the high external fees and staff bonuses for many years. TRTA is urging the TRS Board of Trustees to address Mr. Burns’ article and provide an explanation to members on how the agency will fix these problems.

While in-person meetings have been canceled, TRTA encourages districts and local units that are interested in doing so to continue meeting virtually when possible. Many TRTA districts and local units have reported to the state that they have been meeting virtually via Zoom videoconferencing services or other conference call services. If you’d like to learn more about Zoom, please refer to this email explainer or contact Roy Varney, roy@trta.org.

In addition to canceling all local and district in-person meetings through 2020, TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee and TRTA state officers will not be traveling for any in-person meetings. However, if you would like Tim Lee or a state officer to visit your local unit virtually this fall, please contact Shelby Click at shelby@trta.org.

TRTA knows not all units are able to meet virtually, and we encourage our members to remain safe and consider making phone calls, sending text messages, or emailing or mailing newsletters or cards to their members to check in on them.

What’s the Best Thing Our Members Can Do from Home This Fall? Get on the Phone!

We know that many of the events of this year have been discouraging, but now is not the time for TRTA members to give up!

The Texas Comptroller announced that the state will face a significant budget shortfall come next legislative session. Will this impact your pension fund and health care? It could. But this means we must enter the session stronger than ever!

While you are staying home and staying safe, please consider calling up your retired friends and colleagues and asking them to please join TRTA. We are still within reach of our goal of 100,000 members!

Are these difficult times? Yes. Are retirees up for the challenge? Absolutely! We must enter the next session prepared. We must prepare now by rallying the troops! This is the time when nearly 70 years of advocacy and perseverance really pays off.

Here’s what some other retirees are saying about TRTA:

  • Kathy T.

Yes, I belong. They helped us get the only raise/money retirees have gotten this century.

  • Lila M.

All Texas retired school employees should be members of TRTA. They represent us in the legislature and numbers count! Each member of TRTA represents a vote, and legislators care about that!

  • Robin H.

TRTA costs less than $3.00 a month. It’s a great deal, especially considering they are fighting to make things better for us.

  • Rick H.

Yes-great advocates for us in the state legislature as well as Congress. Very active at the congressional level trying to deal with the disgraceful way they treat our Social Security benefits.

  • Beverly N.

Yes, they are an excellent advocate for retired teachers. They work tirelessly for us with the legislature when in session. Strongly support them. Go to trta.org to join.

  • Doneice R.

I suggest you join both the state TRTA and a local group! They are both an important part of advocating for Retired School Personnel benefits. TRTA is nearing 100,000 members – legislators know us and know our issues! TRTA members are a strong voice in Austin!

  • Rita L.

I am a member of TRTA and my local. I love the support and the advocacy of this organization. The member benefits are also great. Be a part of something that matters.

  • Darell H.

Hope you will join TRTA and join us in advocating for yourself and our peers. Many of those who retired long ago, who no longer have a spouse to help support them, are living near poverty. They need our help.

  • Debbie J.

It’s a great organization that represents retired teachers and their needs. TRTA also keeps its members aware of what issues are in session and being decided. It also helps and encourages retired teachers to email or call their representatives.

  • Phil C.

TRTA is the go-to place for ALL Texas retired teachers. They lobby for US.

  • Cynthia B.

TRTA represents us in the Legislature. People, there is safety in numbers. Can you imagine if EVERY retired public school employee joined TRTA what a powerful statement that would be? Join up now.

  • Randy M.

Yes. Every retired educator should be a member. They help us to have a voice at TRS and the state capitol. It is so affordable, and you can have it deducted from your monthly TRS payment. Less than $3.00 per month. Why would you not become a member?

Thank You and Keep Checking Your Email!

The TRTA Board of Directors thanks you for your continued support and your membership. The board and the staff are thinking of you and wishing you all well during these trying and unusual times. We know that Zoom and other virtual services cannot take the place of face-to-face contact and hope that we can resume meetings again sooner rather than later.

TRTA will also provide additional updates this fall about ways all members can participate in the legislative process virtually and from home as we head into the November general election cycle and 87th Legislative Session in January 2021. Watch for frequent email updates from Tim Lee and don’t forget to phone your friends and ask them to join TRTA today!