Senate approves 13th check for TRS retirees; House at standstill after Dems depart

The Texas Senate is moving quickly through Gov. Greg Abbott's agenda for the special session, giving approval this week to a 13th check for TRS retirees. TCTA supports SB 7, but continues to advocate for a cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers.

Senators also approved limits on transgender athletes. This afternoon, a Senate committee is expected to advance a controversial bill that further restricts how history and current events are taught in schools.

But final passage of these bills is uncertain after action in the House ground to a halt Monday. More than 50 Democrats left the state to break a quorum in an attempt to block election bills.
USDE approves Texas plan for use of federal COVID-19 funds

More federal funds for COVID-19 relief will be released to Texas schools now that the U.S. Department of Education has approved the plan submitted by TEA outlining how those funds will be used to mitigate learning loss. Click here to read more about how much money Texas schools will receive.

“It is heartening to see, reflected in these state plans, the ways in which states are planning to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities, particularly as we move into the summer and look ahead to the upcoming academic year,” Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a news release.  

States also are eligible to apply for federal funds to help homeless students.
Sign up now for TCTA's free summer training workshops

Local officers and faculty representatives as well as current TCTA members interested in learning more about membership and getting involved at the local level are encouraged to attend one of TCTA's virtual summer training workshops. Sessions are:
  • Saturday, July 24, from 10 a.m. to noon
  • Tuesday, July 27, from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, July 30, from 1 to 3 p.m.
These interactive workshops will include an overview of this year's membership materials, recruitment tips and small-group discussions as well as updates on the special legislative session and legal issues.

Click here to RSVP for a workshop. Zoom links will be emailed to registrants about 24 hours before each session starts. The first 500 members who register will receive a free summer fun kit in the mail. We hope to see you soon!
TRS considers new rules on retire/rehire, health insurance

During its meeting today and Friday, the TRS Board of Directors is responding to legislation passed during the 2021 regular session. Over the coming weeks, TRS will publish and accept comments on proposed new rules and revisions to address changes in state law, particularly those regarding employment after retirement and TRS's administration of ActiveCare health insurance. Click here to read more.

In other news, TRS was released from its controversial lease in the Indeed Tower in downtown Austin after a new company bought the building, which is under construction. Click here to read more.
Parents' request for videos from child's classroom denied

A complaint was filed with the Texas Education Agency, alleging that a school district failed to comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and provide an appropriate education for a student's needs.

As part of the complaint, the student's parents requested that the district give them all records about the student that contained personally identifiable information about the student and the parents. This request included video recordings, but an independent hearing examiner denied the release of the videos, saying the footage was confidential. Click here to read more.
Join our legal session Aug. 21

Members are invited to join TCTA's staff attorneys at 10 a.m. Aug. 21 for the next Saturday Spotlight. They will review current legal issues and save time for your questions. Click here to register.
CDC says no masks for fully vaccinated teachers, students

In its latest COVID-19 guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says fully vaccinated teachers and students do not need to wear masks when school begins in the fall. The change comes several weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas school districts could no longer require mask use.

With the Delta variant contributing to an increase in COVID cases in many parts of the U.S., including Texas, many school districts are hosting shot clinics and encouraging students age 12 and older to get COVID-19 vaccines before returning to school in the fall. Vaccination remains voluntary.
Renew your TCTA membership

Don't wait until the school year starts to renew your TCTA membership for 2021-22. Renew now!
Invite your colleagues to join TCTA and earn $25 for every two eligible first-time active members you recruit through our Take 2/Make $25 program.
Explore extra savings in July with TicketsatWork

TicketsatWork has hotter-than-July savings for TCTA members on all kinds of summer fun, from theme park vacations to relaxing staycations to outdoor explorations. Save even more with these promo codes:
  • Summer10 for $10 off $100
  • Summer20 for $20 off $200
  • Summer30 for $30 off $300
If you haven’t signed up yet, click here to become a member and enter our company code: SWTCTA.

  • TCTA's summer training workshops are July 24, July 27 and July 30.
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