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Club Chronicles: FC Education retirees reconvene following hiatus

The Franklin County Education Retirees Association held its April 21 meeting at the Russellville First United Methodist Church Ministry Center.

This was the first meeting for the association since Oct. 21, 2020. The regular monthly meetings from November until March were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone was requested to wear face mask and observe social distancing.

President Sandy Gibson presided at the meeting and presented the devotion.  A luncheon was provided for all attendees.

The program was presented by Kathy Archer, AERA District 1 director. She talked about legislation being considered by the Alabama state legislators that would affect education retirees.

Sen. Jim McClendon brought two companion bills before the Senate. The first, SB319, would create a state lottery, playable in paper or mobile forms. The second, SB320, would split the proceeds from the lottery between the Education Trust Fund, which funds most public schools in the state, and the General Fund, which funds most state programs.

An amendment proposed by Sen. Arther Orr directs 5 percent of lottery revenue to the Education Retirees’ Trust Fund until that fund reaches $100 million. This amendment passed the chamber.

SB172 would provide a $3 per month service bonus for TRS retirees.

SB51 modifies TRS Tier II by allowing 30-year retirement, allowing sick leave conversion and increasing the employee contribution to 6.75 percent.

The House Ways and Means Education Committee adopted a substitute to the Education Trust Fund budget, SB189. The substitute provides the requested funding for both TRS and PEEHIP.

The annual AERA meeting will be held in Montgomery May 11 at the Renaissance Hotel Convention Center.

Quinton T. Ross Jr., president of Alabama State University, will be the speaker. Ross served as a member of the Alabama Senate from 2002-2017 and served as the minority leader from 2014-2017.

In the business session, members voted to present two $500 scholarships to Northwest-Shoals Community College for two students planning to major in education.

Members also voted on delegates to attend the AERA state meeting in Montgomery.