COLA should start in January despite election challenges | TCTA
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COLA should start in January despite election challenges

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Due to the passage of SB 10 and HJR 2 in the regular legislative session and the overwhelming support of Proposition 9 in the November election, TRS retirees will receive a cost-of-living increase, the first in 20 years.

In September, one-time payments were made to retirees aged 70 and older.

  • Approximately 177,000 received a payment of $7,500.
  • Approximately 108,000 received a payment of $2,400.

Beginning at the end of January 2024, retirees will receive a permanent increase in their monthly annuities based on how long ago they retired.

  • Approximately 145,000 who retired between 2014 and 2020 will receive an additional 2%, average $46 monthly increase.
  • Approximately 187,000 who retired between 2002 and 2013 will receive an additional 4%, average $85 monthly increase.
  • Approximately 68,000 who retired in 2001 or earlier will receive an additional 6%, average $116 monthly increase.

This week, state officials found a legal tactic to prevent a slew of election contest lawsuits from derailing the constitutional amendments that voters approved in November. Some legal experts, however, say a judge’s ruling is still required to bring an end to the election challenges.

If the COLA's implementation is delayed for any reason, TRS said this week that it has the ability to ensure back payments. Click here to read more about the COLA.

Board gets update on pension fund

The final board meeting of the year on Dec. 7-8 included the actuarial valuation of the TRS pension fund for the fiscal year. Estimated market return for the plan year ending Aug. 31, 2023, was 3.8%, rebounding from -6.7% in fiscal year 2022. The return is approximately 6.4% for the last five years, less than the 7% assumption. Based on these assumptions, the TRS Pension Fund would reach 100% funded status in 2052. Contributing to the larger liabilities of the fund are active school employee salary increases over the last four years corresponding to larger prospective benefits that outpace the current assumptions. However, the contributions based on the higher salaries will help offset the liabilities in future years.

In fiscal year 2024, both the employee and state contribution rates increased to 8.25% from 8%. The employer rate slightly increased to 1.9% from 1.8%. Compared nationally, employer contributions toward retirement are the lowest for public educators in Texas. These factors need to be examined by the legislature next legislative session to ensure teachers receive pensions they deserve and earned.

Also during this week's meeting, the TRS Board honored Grace Mueller with a resolution recognizing her service as chair of the Retiree Advisory Committee. Mueller, a TCTA member since 1985, served as state president in 2013-14. Though she is ending her service on the RAC, she will continue to advocate for educators as a new trustee on the Seguin ISD school board.