Teacher paychecks can continue despite Hurricane Harvey-related school closures

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. 

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TRS opens retirement planning sessions

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

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TCTA submits comments on state's ESSA plan

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.

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TRS-Care changes finalized

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.

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TCTA member among finalists for Teacher of the Year award

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. 

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List of drugs that will be free for pre-65 retirees under TRS-Care

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.

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New TRS-Care premiums (subject to TRS Board approval)

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.

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Legislature adjourns a day early, passes school finance and TRS-Care legislation

The House surprised many observers Tuesday evening by adjourning "sine die" (indicating the final day), a day before the last possible day of the special session. The Senate followed suit soon after. While several of the governor's priority issues passed, several did not, including property tax reform, a bathroom bill, payroll deduction prohibition, a teacher pay raise, and vouchers. But the legislature sent a school finance/TRS-Care bill on to the governor before shutting down the session.

House, Senate move into final negotiations on education issues

The Senate worked into the night Monday to pass HB 21 (school finance) and HB 30 (funding for the school finance bill), approving its own revised versions of the bills and sending them on to the House. The House can either concur with the Senate changes or request a conference committee.

House rejects payroll deduction amendment to school finance commission bill

A bill to create a school finance commission to study the state's system of funding public schools became a "Christmas tree" for a variety of legislators' pet causes, with several amendments adding topics to the subjects that are to be studied by the commission. The bill passed on an initial vote of 142-2.