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Our thoughts and prayers are with all TCTA members, their families, colleagues, students and neighbors affected by Hurricane Harvey. Donations and volunteers will be needed in the months ahead as Southeast Texas recovers and starts to rebuild. We've put together a list of resources for those directly impacted by the storm along with ways to help.

At TCTA's urging, the Texas Education Agency sent a letter Tuesday notifying school district administrators that they can request permission from the commissioner to reduce teacher contract days without reducing salaries in the event of flooding or extreme weather, as allowed under current law. 

If you're planning on or considering retiring soon, add a TRS group or individual counseling session to your to-do list. TRS has opened up group presentation registrations for the current school year; registrations are on a first-come, first-served basis and you must have (or sign up for) a MyTRS account on the TRS website. One-on-one appointments can be scheduled beginning Oct. 11.

See more information about both group and individual sessions here

TCTA urged the Texas Education Agency to do more to address inequitable gaps in the assignment of qualified teachers to poor and minority students, and to include more holistic measures of school success in its proposed State ESSA Plan. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act, requires states to submit ESSA plans to the U.S. Department of Education for review and approval by Sept. 18, 2017. Click here for more.

The Teacher Retirement System Board of Trustees adopted TRS-Care plan changes and new premium rates resulting from the $212 million in increased funding approved by the legislature during the recent special session. TCTA testified to ask TRS to continue working on permanent and more beneficial solutions to the ongoing problems that TRS-Care and retirees are facing.

The Texas Association of School Administrators recently announced the six finalists (three elementary and three secondary) in the 2018 Texas Teacher of the Year program, including TCTA member Amy Hooten of Thomas Justiss Elementary School in Paris ISD. 

TRS has made available its list of generic maintenance prescription drugs that will be provided free for TRS-Care participants under age 65 when the revised TRS-Care plans become effective January 1, 2018. See the list here.

The TRS Board will vote Sept. 1 to approve the new TRS-Care plans as revised by the legislature during the summer special session. The legislature approved an infusion of $212 million to help cut costs for retirees, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law. TRS staff have provided information on the new deductibles, lowered premium rates, and other changes that are the result of the additional funding, subject to the Board's approval.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act, requires states to submit ESSA plans to the U.S. Department of Education for review and approval by Sept. 18, 2017. The Texas Education Agency posted its proposed plan for public comment; comments are due by Aug. 29, 2017.

Hundreds of teachers and public education supporters braved the heat July 17 to attend a rally organized by Texans for Public Education and sponsored by many teacher groups, including TCTA.