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TEACHER RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF TEXAS. The Teacher Retirement System of Texas was instituted by the Texas legislature in 1937 in response to the demands of teachers represented by groups such as the Texas State Teachers Association. Though the legislature established the system in 1937, it did not fully fund it until 1941, when a constitutional amendment was passed that allowed regular contributions from teachers to be matched with contributions from the state. In 1949 the system extended eligibility to auxiliary school employees, and in 1977 the distinctions between teachers and staff were eliminated. Originally membership was voluntary, but it later became compulsory. The fund is administered by a nine-member state board of trustees. Two members are appointed by the State Board of Education (see TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY), three by the governor, and four teacher members are appointed by the governor after being nominated by popular ballot of the members of the retirement system. Of the Teacher Retirement System appointments, one trustee must be a retired member and one must represent higher education. Executive offices are maintained in Austin, and an executive secretary oversees the daily operations of the system. In addition to providing a retirement fund for teachers, the retirement system provides disability benefits and death or survivor benefits. As of August 31, 1994, 132,577 annuitants received monthly payments from the system and the Teacher Retirement System had 599,632 members. With the help of various independent investment consultants, the board of trustees administers the system's investment portfolio. In 1994 the market value of the portfolio was $38,448,978,471, while actuarial liabilities were at $1,750,000,000. The actuarial deficit reflects the assumption of liabilities for benefits based on service before inception of the system and the first eighteen years of operation, when member contributions were limited by law to $180 a year.

Ralph W. Steen, Twentieth Century Texas: An Economic and Social History (Austin: Steck, 1942). Traxel Stevens, Visions, Vigilance and Victory: A History of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (Austin: Teacher Retirement System, 1986). University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs, Guide to Texas State Agencies (Austin, 1956-).

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Handbook of Texas Online, "TEACHER RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF TEXAS," accessed July 24, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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