Texas representative and Louisiana senator speak on Social Security offsets that harm teachers

On Oct. 3, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) made a statement on the Senate floor in support of eliminating the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) as part of the tax legislation being drafted in the House Ways and Means Committee. Texas Rep. Mike Conaway spoke against the WEP a week later on the House floor.

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New TRS rules on employment after retirement and other issues

The TRS Board of Trustees approved new and revised rules at its Sept. 22, 2017, meeting that may affect active members and future retirees. Some of the issues in these rules are complex and we strongly recommend that members contact TRS to discuss how their personal situations may be affected by the changes.

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Texas submits final ESSA plan to USDE for review

Texas submitted its final ESSA State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education for review and approval on Sept. 25, 2017, after posting a draft plan for public comment in late July. Although TCTA submitted comments urging 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 the plan, the final plan changed very little in these areas. 

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Changes in T-TESS rules due to TCTA lawsuit become effective

Revisions to the Texas Education Agency's teacher appraisal rules, which were prompted by lawsuits filed by TCTA and three other groups, become effective Oct. 10, 2017.

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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