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The Alabama Senate Education Committee approved a measure this morning that would remove the powerful Alabama Education Association from the Teacher Retirement System Board, the body that makes decisions on retirement benefits for public school employees across the state.
The move would clear the way for representatives from the state's colleges to take new seats on the board.
The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate for consideration. It would then have to be approved by a House committee and then the full House of Representatives before going to the Governor for signature.
Apparently what is behind this move is that the state senator who proposed removing the AEA seat from the board wants more influence to come from the higher education community, basically, the state's two and four year colleges.
An obvious question, not addressed by the committee is, "...why not just add a seat, rather than getting rid of one voice altogether?"
The Teachers Retirement System Board is one of the two boards of control of the RSA, the Retirement Systems of Alabama. It also makes decisions on health insurance for members. .
The Senate Education Committee narrowly approved the measure by a vote of 4 to 3, with 2 abstaining. That would roll two seats off that would include the current seat held by AEA's Henry Mabry and the other representing education support staff.
They would be replaced by two members, who would come from the higher education community. No one from the AEA was at the committee meeting to oppose the idea.
There was a recent conflict over board elections between Dr. David Bronner of the RSA and Henry Mabry of the AEA. It's unclear if this move has anything to do with that event.
The AEA helped form the TRS more than 50 years ago and has a seat on that board ever since.
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