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AERA holds District I meeting in Russellville

The Alabama Education Retirees Association held its District I annual meeting July 23 at the Russellville First United Methodist Church. More than a hundred retired teachers from Colbert, Lauderdale, Limestone, Morgan, Cullman, Franklin, Winston and Marion counties attended the meeting, and Kathy Archer, District I director, presided.

Dr. Stafford Thompson, AERA president, spoke on the top priorities of this administration. No. 1 will be to protect retirees’ benefits. Another will be to obtain a cost-of-living trust Fund and a method of funding it. 

He said decision-makers must come to realize that if legislators in states contiguous to Alabama can find ways to provide their retirees with as much as a 3 percent annual cost-of-living raise, then together we can do the same. 

A funded COLA for Alabama retirees is a must if we are to keep pace with the rising cost of goods and services in Alabama. 

“Over the next two years, I would like for Alabama Education Retirees to participate in the efforts of addressing the rising issue of mental health among preschoolers through third graders,” added Dr. Thompson. 

Membership has been one theme that has permeated AERA since its existence, and another goal for this administration is to increase the membership to 47,000.

Jill Jackson, AERA executive director, presented the membership report and an update on the membership benefits. She also gave a review on the past legislative session. 

The 2020 Advocacy Network meetings will be held Jan. 8 in Montgomery; Jan. 16 in Evergreen; and Jan. 23 in Cullman. 

The Community Service Program was discussed, and districts were encouraged to support the issues pertaining to mental health.

Joe Ward, TRS board of control member, reported the TRS is in good shape. 

Dr. Donna Townes gave an update on the PEEHIPP for retirees. The good news was that rates have not increased, and the benefits are the same. 

Retirees will now be receiving health services from Humana instead of United Health Care. New ID cards will be mailed to retirees soon. 

Erin Day, Humana representative, presented some of the wellness programs that will be provided by Humana. Health Rewards Program was discussed, and time was allotted for retirees to ask questions. 

 

By Susie Hovater Malone