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Retired teachers rally for Proposition 9

October 11, 2023 - 00:00
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    Courtesy photo Grimes County Retired School Personnel (GCRSP) were represented at the Texas Retired Teacher Association (TRTA) District 4 Fall Conference in Huntsville, Oct. 4. Pictured left to right: Deborahe Johnston, Erna Freeman, Marilyn Bettes, Carolyn Tennyson and Susan Boudreaux.

Huntsville — As voting season rapidly approaches, retired teachers statewide are rallying to garner support for Proposition 9, a critical state constitutional amendment on the upcoming ballot.

Several Grimes County Retired School Personnel attended the Texas Retired Teacher Association District 4 Fall Conference in Huntsville, Oct. 4 Proposition 9 holds immense significance for retired teachers across Texas, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet on meager retirement incomes. If approved, it will provide a Cost-of-Living Adjustment for all retired school personnel.

These retirees have not received a raise since 2004 and also to clarify, most school districts in Texas do not offer Social Security options. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously passed Proposition 9 for voter approval on the November ballot. Voting for Prop 9 will not create a tax increase. The Texas Legislature has already set aside the funds to make this happen with voter approval.

Catherine Reed, a retired teacher who taught at Navasota High School and now resides in Prairie View, shared her concerns. “Oh, my God, I’ve been retired,” she said. “I haven’t had a raise since the day I retired in 2005. It means everything to me because everything in the world has gone up except my check.”

Tim Lee, the Executive Director of the Texas Teachers Association, shed light on the essence of Proposition 9. “Proposition 9 is the ballot measure that will give them the first raise they have seen in almost 20 years,” Lee said.

Currently, retired teachers in Texas receive $1,000 per month or less from their state retirement plan. “Going to the grocery store, going to the doctor, paying for life, is just really hard in this economy on 1,000 bucks,” said Lee as he highlighted financial challenges retired teachers face.

Judi Thomas, TRTA District 6 President, underscored the importance of their theme, “Let’s finish the race,” as they concentrated their efforts on the Proposition.

Lee emphasized the need to educate the public about the unique situation of school employees in Texas. “If I were to walk up to someone right now and say, ‘Hey, did you know that our school employees in Texas don’t have social security, and while it saves Texas billions of dollars a year by not sending that money to the federal government, it then turns around and potentially hurts these folks by not giving them cost of living adjustments.’ Most people don’t know that,” he said.

With early voting starting on Monday, Oct. 23, and Election Day slated for Tuesday, Nov. 7, retired teachers and their supporters are rallying to ensure that Proposition 9 receives the backing it deserves. This constitutional amendment has the potential to significantly impact the lives of retired educators, easing their financial burden and providing them with a long-awaited raise.