EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Texas House of Representatives gave their final approval for a bill that would increase retired teacher’s pension payouts on Monday, Sept. 11. This would be the first cost-of-living adjustment in 20 years.

Borderland retired teacher Tom Davis, who worked at Franklin High School for 26 years, said that this bill is not just for retirees but for current teachers as well. The bill is looking to give a 6% increase for those who retired before 2004, 4% if it was between 2004 and 2014 and a 2% increase if they retired between 2015-2021.

According to Davis, this is just a small way for Texas to show its appreciation for educators.

“These training guidelines said we couldn’t have a class with more than 21 students to safely conduct science labs and I had classes with well over 30 and we teachers took on larger class sizes and did not get one penny extra so that helps us to feel appreciated for the extra things we did or didn’t get paid for,” Davis said.

However, while this increase is significant Davis believes it is still not enough. Many teachers who retire rely on their pension as their only source of income.

“Unless they have some sort of investment or they’re married to someone who has a high-paying job, unless that’s the case, then teachers rely on this very heavily, for many of which it’s their only source of income,” Davis said.

In order for the increases to receive funding, Texas voters would first need to approve an amendment to the Texas Constitution. This would allow the state to move $1.9 billion from the general fund to the teacher retirement system.

“I would also like to encourage current teachers to vote for this because if it passes, then the Legislature will see there is public support for increase in teacher benefits and during the next legislative session could have their benefits increased,” Davis said.

This item will be on the ballot on Nov. 7.

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