TCTA’s Ann Fickel testified this week at a hearing on the Texas Education Agency’s Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR), asking legislators to include additional funding for active employee health insurance in the budget bill that will be submitted to the legislature in the upcoming legislative session. 

TCTA is taking every opportunity to remind lawmakers that many active school employees are in crisis mode with regard to health insurance — some forgoing care or necessary medications, or waiving insurance coverage completely due to skyrocketing costs — in part because the state has not increased its contribution since the plan’s implementation in 2002. Funding for the state’s $75 per month/per employee contribution is sent to districts through the school finance formulas, so any request for additional funding should come through TEA’s LAR. However, the LAR submitted by Commissioner Mike Morath did not include such a request.

The presentation of an agency’s LAR to the Legislative Budget Board is one of the first steps of the budget process, and hearings have been taking place for several weeks. House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill will be filed after the legislative session begins in January.