Thursday, February 22, 2018
My Testimony Before the TRS Board Regarding the Shameful Treatment of Texas Public School Employees
When I went to the TRS Board meeting being held at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley last Friday, February 16, I had no intention of testifying before the board. However, when I walked in and saw the cards for those who wished to testify, I stood for a moment, asking myself, 'How can I NOT?'
How could I not testify before the TRS Board about the countless posts from my fellow retired public school employees across the state I have read , emotionally and financially broken by what Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Patrick, most of the Texas Senate, and some members of the House chose to do to our healthcare, all while keeping healthcare for all other retired state employees AND retired Texas legislators (aka "The Elected Class") at a $0 premium with a $0 deductible for healthcare and a $50 deductible for prescriptions? While keeping their far superior insurance and rates completely intact, teachers, bus drivers, nurses, librarians, secretaries, custodians, administrators, classroom aides, social workers, maintenance workers, and cafeteria workers who dedicated our careers, and our lives, to the children of this state were forced into one high-deductible healthcare plan. Our deductible was raised from $400 to $1500, and not one cent of our healthcare or prescriptions (except for a list of standard, generic drugs) is covered until we reach the entire $1500. For married couples, the deductible is $3000 now---not $1500 per person, but $3000. Until that mark is reached, not one penny of their healthcare or prescription costs are covered.
And lest anyone think retired public school employees are living in luxury, here is a pension breakdown in a TRS publication I picked up that day at UTRGV:
When I sat down Friday morning, I feverishly tried to write my testimony; however, the meeting began before I finished, so I had to continue without notes. It needed to be said, and we need to continue saying it before TRS, before the Texas Legislature, and at the polls!!!
Here is my testimony. It starts at 1:25 on the tape and goes until 6:44.
Click here to see any/all of the three-day TRS Board meeting at UTRGV, including testimony from other retired public school employees who have been affected by the "ERS vs. TRS Injustice."
What's good for the educator is good for the legislator!
NOTE: ERS is the Employees Retirement System of Texas, the pension and healthcare system for all other state employees and the Elected Class. TRS is the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, a misnomer, as it actually handles the pension and healthcare of ALL Texas public school employees.
Chris Ardis retired in May of 2013 following a 29-year teaching career. She now helps companies with business communications and social media and works as a sales coordinator for Tony Roma's and Macaroni Grill. Chris can be reached at email@example.com. (Photo by Linda Blackwell, McAllen)