In a win for teachers and taxpayers, the Teacher Retirement System of the Texas Board of Trustees has voted against following through on a planned move into Indeed Tower.
Established in 1937, TRS provides retirement and related benefits for more than 1.6 million Texas teachers, college professors, and other educational employees. It is supported by the State of Texas and manages a $150 billion trust fund established to finance member benefits. TRS is the largest public retirement system in Texas and is the sixth-largest public pension fund in the U.S.
First reported by Austin’s KXAN last month, TRS had signed a 10-year lease for three floors of office space at the Indeed Tower, a highly sought-after location for companies seeking extravagant downtown accommodations in close proximity to the city’s bar district.
The cost for the space? A jaw-dropping $326,000 a month.
Or, as one retired teacher who taught for 31 years in Texas public schools told Texas Scorecard, the costs of more than 135 retirees a month.
As news of the development swept across social media, citizens and legislators were up in arms on the issue.
Spurred by the public outrage, State Reps. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa), Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands), and other legislators demanded TRS not go through on the deal that the organization claimed was an “investment.”
That pressure seems to have paid off. At yesterday’s board meeting, trustees voted to remain at their current location and sublease the space at Indeed Tower instead.
“After considerable input from our members and the public, and a full discussion at our Feb. 20 board meeting, TRS trustees have directed the agency not to move the Investment Management Division (IMD) into Indeed Tower and to sublease the space. TRS will negotiate a lease renewal and expansion at its existing downtown lease space to meet the space needs of the IMD.”
Teachers and taxpayers should see the move as a major win. And lawmakers should be commended for acting responsively to their constituents’ concerns. They should also be encouraged to continue building on this success and hold TRS and other rogue agencies accountable.