Athens Review, Athens, Texas

June 18, 2013

Retired teachers get raise, fund solvency

Special to the Review
The Athens Review

AUSTIN — During the final days of the 83rd Legislative Session, the Texas House approved the Teacher Retirement Actuarial Soundness Bill, or SB 1458, which will put the Teachers Retirement System on solid ground for years to come.

SB 1458 increases state and employee contributions to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) and makes several changes to retirement eligibility for prospective and non-vested employees. The legislation provides reforms to halt the expansion of TRS' unfunded liabilities and returns TRS to actuarial soundness.

Signed into law last week by the Governor, SB 1458 enables TRS to pay off its liabilities in less than 30 years. Additionally, the bill provides a three percent (3 percent) Cost of Living Adjustment for all retired teachers and their beneficiaries, who have retired on or before August 31, 2004. The Cost of Living Adjustment will be the first of its kind since 2001.

“As the son of lifelong educators, I am steadfast in my commitment to protecting the solvency of this retirement plan," said State Rep. Lance Gooden, who represents Athens and Henderson County. "Keeping our promises to educators honors the sacrifices of former teachers and aids in recruiting the best and the brightest to teach the next generation of Texas’ school children."

Henderson County Retired Teachers Association’s Legislative Liaison Evelyn Kindred thanked Rep. Gooden for his efforts this session.

“Retired teachers across Henderson and Kaufman Counties worked very hard to help Lance Gooden get re-elected as our State Representative. We believed he was genuine in his concern for the livelihoods of retired teachers and he proved that this session,” Kindred said.

With one week remaining in the special session, Gooden is completing his second term and has been an advocate for retired teachers and local control in public schools.