WEST TEXAS, TX. (KMID/KPEJ) — Senate Bill 10 has been filed in the Texas Legislature. Part of that bill goes to help senior retired educators with a cost of living adjustment, also known as COLA.

All 31 Texas senators have signed to be joint authors on it.

“Its been a very very tough time for a lot of retired educators, not only teachers but cafeteria employees, transportation, custodial staff, everyone that’s a public school employee,” said Parliamentarian, Ricky Chandler with the Odessa Retired Teachers Association.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says for this session in the legislature, the Senate will use money from the surplus to create a cost of living adjustment for retired educators.
SB 10 will create a 2 percent COLA for all retired educators who have been retired 2-9 years and a 4 percent COLA for educators who have been retired 10 years or more.
Bobbie Duncan was a teacher with ECISD for 43 years. She says she wants to see an 8 percent increase at minimum.

“We put our lives into that profession and it seems that Texas would like to compensate or let us live a decent or respectful retirement. The only problem with Senate Bill 10 is that a 2 percent increase of nothing, is nothing. 2 percent of a bus drivers retirement is probably less than 30 dollars a month. That’s almost a slap in the face. It is not substantial. It needs to be a lot more than that. But it is a step,” said Duncan.

SB 10 will also send a $7,500 check to 186,000 retired educators 75 and older, if passed.
Patrick says this group of retired educators has struggled financially for many years because of fixed lower retirement benefits and leaders with the Odessa Retired Teachers Association agree.

“We have a lot of retirees that haven’t had a pay increase or annuity increase in about 20 years,” said Chandler.

“Even when you think of housing, things that costed 20 years ago compared to now. They’re struggling. We definitely need a cost of living raise for across the board for everyone. But especially for those who retired 30-35 years ago,” said Sandra Ramage , 1st Vice President of the Odessa Retired Teachers.

Lt. Governor Patrick also says he is hoping to allow Texas teachers to get certain social security benefits congress was slated to pass that bill in December but the bill died.
He says SB 10 is something that is long overdue.

“It has forced seniors to go and live in lower standard homes, we don’t qualify or get enough income to afford assisted living in a nice place.” said Duncan.

The Odessa Retired Teachers Association is also supporting House Bill 600.
In which retired educators will gain a sharing cost-of-living adjustment. You must be at least 70 years of age and can receive a $5,000 check.

“We appreciate them definitely if they vote on it. I know there’s a lot of people that could really really use the extra money because they are desperate in certain situations.” said Karen Telck, the Odessa Retired Teacher Association President.

“We are looking forward to next month when we go to Austin on April 12th for our rally date where we will be addressing all of these concerns with the legislators.” said Mary Alice Ramos, Secretary of ORTA.

The next hearing for Senate Bill 10 at 9 am, Wednesday March 22nd at our state’s capitol, House Bill 600 is also scheduled for a hearing at 8 am Wednesday.
Stay with ABC Big 2 News for the latest on this legislation.