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Retired teachers in Texas could see first cost of living adjustment in nearly 20 years

By Jack Fink

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    DALLAS (KTVT) — Judy Bryant of Dallas taught home economics and classes for pregnant and parenting teenagers for 32 years. “I really always knew that I wanted to be a teacher.”

But she hasn’t received a cost-of-living increase since she retired 17 years ago.

Since Bryant retired in 2006, the average sale price of a home in Texas has gone up from more than $177,000 to $403,000 according to Texas A&M University.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy says the average price of a new car was more than $23,000.

Now, Kelley Blue Book says it’s more than $48,000.

When it comes to groceries, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says a dozen eggs has jumped from $1.31 to $4.21.

“Oh my goodness. The price differences between then and now, just unbelievable.”

This week, the Texas House passed a bill unanimously that would give more than 400,000 retired teachers, administrators, and support staff at school districts and community colleges across Texas a bump in their monthly pensions.

The Texas Senate approved its own version unanimously at the end of March.

It would be the first increase since 2004.

Under Senate Bill 10 passed by the Senate, retirees would receive either a two or four percent increase in their monthly pension depending on their retirement date.

Those who turn 75 years old by the end of this year would also receive a one-time check of $7,500.

The House made changes to SB 10 and under its version, retirees would receive a monthly increase in their pension from 2% to 6% depending on their retirement date.

Those who turn 70 years old by the end of this year would also receive a one-time check of $5,000.

The House plan would also include additional yearly increases starting in 2028, based on the performance of TRS investments.

Lawmakers in both chambers will have to reach a compromise in the next couple of weeks.

Bryant said, “We really are happy that it’s gotten this far.”

Right now, the average retiree who’s paid into the Teacher Retirement System or TRS receives just under $2,200 for their monthly pension.

Once a final bill passes, a retiree will likely receive on average between $45 and $117 more each month.

It depends on their retirement date.

Bryant said, “I think because we have been talking to our legislators on-going, all the time, they finally began to realize how it’s really impacting real people.”

Asked if it’s enough Bryant said, “No, not really.”

“I enjoy what I do with the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans but sometimes, I’d like to be able to retire completely.”

“We don’t want this to happen again where we have to come and beg.”

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