Texas' Retired Educators to Receive 13th Check in January
The Teachers Retirement System of Texas (TRS) recently announced that Texas' 250,000 eligible retired public school employees will receive an extra monthly pension benefit in January. While the board of trustees has yet to vote on the extra payment, their approval is all but assured, making the vote a mere formality.
TRS beneficiaries will receive a check of between $1,800 on average up to a maximum of $2,400. The increase, the first since 2001, comes with no increase in active members' contribution rate. So where did the revenue to pay for this increase come from? Two factors allowed for it: investment returns that outpaced forecasts, and increased contribution to the system from the state.
The Teachers Retirement System of Texas, a $116 billion fund, is one of the nation's largest public pensions. 2006 marked the fifth straight year in which investment returns exceeded the 8% rate TRS investment managers rely on to manage the fund. Not only did the fund's performance top 8%, it nearly doubled it, earning 14%, a return that increased the fund by $14 billion.
"Voting to increase the state's contribution rate from 6% to 6.58% to ensure our very deserving retired school employees receive a 13th check was one of the easiest decisions I was faced with in my first Senate term," said Senator Hegar, "I am very proud of the hard work undertaken to authorize this well deserved check. Our retired teachers have dedicated their lives and given so much of themselves to educate Texas' youth. Without their hard work and determination, Texas would not be the great place that we all love to call home. I think that we should all take the time to thank our retired teachers for their years of service, because these men and women deserve our gratitude and certainly deserve this 13th check."
Another important announcement from TRS was of the fund reaching actuarial soundness. "Many other states are struggling to protect the pensions of their educators. With more than one million active and retired members of TRS, ensuring the soundness of their retirement fund has become one of the State's highest priorities. This news is a tremendous comfort and should be celebrated as a major achievement for our retired teachers, active teachers, and for our State," concluded Senator Hegar.
Senator Hegar is currently serving his first term in the Texas Senate after serving two terms in the House of Representatives. He is a 6th generation Texan, and earns a living farming rice and corn on land that has been in his family since the mid 1800s. The Hegars reside in Katy, Texas.