TRS Board meeting summary
Date Posted: 9/25/2015
The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees met September 24-25, 2015, to discuss several investment and policy issues related to laws passed by the Texas legislature earlier this year. These rule discussions are the perfect example of how laws do not stop being made when the legislature adjourns, and how important it is that public education advocates stay involved with all policy-making bodies at all times. Several rule proposals were issued by the TRS Policy Committee and will soon be available for public comment before they will potentially be adopted into law by the entire board at an upcoming meeting. Although none of the proposed rules are controversial, the most important proposal regards the calculation of annual compensation during a member’s final year of service credit. Currently, if any employee’s salary was received before Sept. 1, that salary is credited to the prior school year and could negatively affect the calculation of the employee's final year’s salary. Under the proposed rule, TRS will look during a member's final year at her highest 12 months of compensation during a 14-month span in order to ensure that her final year salary calculation will include all compensation, regardless of the member’s contract timeline. Many other rule amendment proposals were also discussed that could affect substitutes, beneficiary and survivor benefits, and purchasing service credit. ATPE is following these discussions closely. The board also heard from TRS external actuaries in a review of the Pension Trust Fund Experience Study. They reported that while the pension trust fund is still healthy, there is a small decrease in the funding ratio and an increase in the unfunded liability. This is due to a variety of reasons, including the adjustment of mortality tables (people are living longer). Based on the actuary’s recommendation and historical rates of return, the board voted to re-adopt the current investment return assumptions. The takeaway from these investment discussions is that we must remain active and vigilant on all pension issues to ensure that your trust fund continues to be managed properly and your benefits are preserved. The next TRS board meeting will be a town hall meeting focused on healthcare, and ATPE has been invited to participate on a panel to provide information on healthcare issues and how public education employees are affected. Stay tuned to Teach the Vote for updates on TRS and your pension and healthcare benefits.
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