This month, I have several updates I want to pass along. One update is important for all of our members who are reading this; one is important for members who are considering retirement this year; and the last two are important for members who are already retired.

For all members:

ATRS is conducting a survey of all of our members. We are asking for your feedback to let us know how we are doing, and to help us understand the best ways to communicate with you. The survey is short and should take no more than 3 or 4 minutes of your time.

Your participation would be a big help to us -- and we're asking everyone to participate, both our retired members and our actively-employed members who aren't retired yet.

If you saw the survey link on social media or in an email from ARTA and have already taken the survey, thank you!

If you have not taken the survey yet, you can access it at this link:

For all members who participate in the survey, you can enter your email address at the end of the survey to be entered in a drawing for a $100 gift card. Thank you in advance for your help!

For members who are considering retirement this year:

As of March 1, members can begin submitting applications to retire or enter T-DROP this summer. If you are thinking about retiring, I urge you to also consider entering T-DROP -- the Teacher Deferred Retirement Option Plan.

When you enter T-DROP, you continue working in your job, but you accumulate cash benefits in a T-DROP account. You can continue to work in T-DROP for up to 10 years, and when you do finally retire, you will have a cash balance to use and rely on. That cash balance can be rolled over to another retirement account, or you can receive it directly as a lump sum (after considering the tax consequences). Or you can use that balance to increase the amount of your monthly retirement benefits for the rest of your lifetime.

While you continue to work and remain in T-DROP, your health insurance and other employment benefits will continue unchanged through your current employer. And you will no longer be contributory, meaning you will save the 7% of your salary you may be contributing to ATRS now.

Applications to enter T-DROP are due May 31st. Please email us at or call us at (501) 682-1517 to ask questions and learn more about T-DROP. And you can find out more on our website at this link:

For retired members:

Ballots were mailed on March 15 to all retired members for this year's Board of Trustees Election. We have one position on the ballot: Position #11, Retiree Trustee. All retired ATRS members are eligible to vote in this election.

When you receive your ballot, please fill it out and mail it back to us. By participating in the Board Election, you will be signaling to legislators and others that you value the independence of our System. The more of our members who vote, the stronger the case will be to the Legislature that we should remain independent with a member-elected Board.

If you are a retired ATRS member and you do not receive a ballot by March 25, please send me an email with your name and mailing address to

All completed ballots must be received back by us no later than April 15. Please complete and return your ballot as quickly as you can, to allow time for the mail to reach us. If you have any questions about the election process, please let me know.

Also, if you are a retired member receiving monthly benefits from ATRS, you should have already received your IRS Form 1099 for 2023. If you did not receive it, please let us know. And if you have an account on our member portal, you can download a copy of your Form 1099 directly from the portal.

For all our members -- but especially for our active teachers -- I hope you have a restful and wonderful Spring Break.

Mark White
Executive Director, ATRS
Office: (501) 621-8853
Cell: (501) 541-2057