The Indiana Retired Teachers' Association held its Fall Workshop for Areas 3 and 4 in The Honeywell Center at Wabash, Ind., on Wednesday Sept. 19, 2012. Those attending to represent Clay County Retired Teachers' Association were Gail Roach, president, and Odena Harper, vice-president. Business was discussed that will directly affect the futures of active teachers today, as well as those who have already entered retirement.
The Community Service Committee reported the importance of retired teachers turning in their number of volunteer hours of service to the community. These hours may be helping in church, children's groups, at hospitals, nursing homes, schools, or any volunteer time spent with anyone other than family members. Volunteer hours are so important when we ask the legislators for our pension benefits each year. It is a tremendous number of hours --100,431, statewide that were volunteered in the past year. Clay County Retired Teachers' Association turned in 11,356 hours of time representing a total of $238,476 given to the community. This is an important issue when Indiana Retired Teachers' Association goes to the Legislature and asks for a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) annually. This has not increased, except for what is being called "A 13th Check" for many years, but the retired teachers are referring to it as a "Stipend."
The Legislative Committee has been working to propose and promote the passage of legislation, which will improve the well being of Indiana's retired teachers. We have many teachers that retired in the 1970s or earlier that are receiving a pension of $500 or less monthly. Indiana Retired Teachers Association is proposing a bill to legislators to correct this situation. Without receiving a COLA this is a problem for those teachers who gave so much to educating the children of Indiana.
The Membership Committee has concerns for the retired teacher of Indiana also. Among these are the statistics that more of the Indiana retired teachers are dying faster than new members are coming forward to join the one association that is working to keep the benefits that we have as well as improving them, the Indiana Retired Teachers Association. Regular membership is $35 annually and associate membership is $10 annually. The number of benefits that comes with membership will more than pay for the fee. Those interested in learning of these benefits may go to the website www.retiredteachers.org to become informed. There is also a plan for Lifetime membership, which will be a benefit to teachers to those joining.
The Indiana Retired Teachers' Foundation is planning the continuation of the eight college scholarships for those students who are entering the educational field and selected by the Scholarship Committee.
They are hoping to expand their services through a one-time grant to active teachers who foster creativity in the classroom; assistance to members experiencing a financial hardship; and a committee one-time grant to assist in fulfilling their missions for the Indiana Retired Teachers' Association members. The Clay County Retired Teachers' Association sends a memorial donation to the Foundation for each of our teachers that pass away.
Clay County Retired Teachers' Association is a part of Area 4, which consists of Clay, Fountain-Warren, Montgomery, Parke-Vermillion, Putnam, Tippecanoe-Benton-Carrol and Vigo Counties. The Area 4 director is Don Metzgerand has been attending the CCRTA Spring and Fall socials. He is available to answer questions that you may have concerning our activities. Clay County Retired Teachers' Association will be having their annual Fall Social on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m., in the Harmony United Methodist Church. Chili Soup will be the main item on the menu with other delicious foods that members graciously help to supply. The meal is free and non-members, as well as members, are welcome to attend. The dues for membership in the Clay County Retired Teachers' Association are $5 for regular members and $3 for associate membership. Anyone interested in the education of our children are welcome to join as associate members, and retired teachers as regular members. To learn more about the Clay County Retired Teachers' Association, there is a link from the IRTA website, as well as our own website at www.clayrta.org.
Membership is a very important issue during these difficult financial ties for education and teachers. At the Indiana Retired Teachers' Association Fall Workshop we were told that our new motto for membership is "Ask One -- To Be One."