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Waco: Some local teachers get pay raises under new state program

Five Harmony Public Schools districts were chosen to receive the extra funding, and only 26 districts were chosen across the entire state.
Five Harmony Public Schools districts were chosen to receive the extra funding, and only 26 districts were chosen across the entire state.(Hannah Hall)
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 4:02 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Some teachers in Waco are going to be getting pay raises from the state through a new program created by the Texas Legislature in 2019.

The Teacher Incentive Allotment provides money to be used to give raises to teachers who have gone above and beyond in their positions.

There is a special focus on hard-to-staff teaching positions, including those in low-income and rural communities.

Five Harmony Public Schools districts were chosen to receive the extra funding, and only 26 districts were chosen across the entire state.

Teachers who are a part of the program will receive anywhere from $3,000 to $32,000 a year, based on whether they’re designated as recognized, exemplary or master teachers.

Deborah McKeen-McGuire is a teacher at Harmony School of Innovation in Waco, and she has been designated as an exemplary teacher.

McKeen-McGuire said she was surprised and honored when she learned she had received the designation.

She thinks it shows how Texas appreciates teachers and the hard work they do.

“Reward the teachers who are willing to go through the necessary steps to get themselves certified, to remain in the classroom, to try innovative projects,” McKeen-McGuire said.

She added she hopes the designations show parents teachers are really there for their children and are working hard to help them succeed in the classroom.

“When you spend the time and the energy to pursue a career in education we’re in it for the long haul, we’re here for your kids, trust us with your kids,” McKeen-McGuire said.

There were five recipients of the TIA designation at the schools in Waco including the three teachers at the Harmony Science Academy and two teachers at Harmony School of Innovation.

Across the Harmony districts, 275 teachers will receive the additional pay this fall.

Harmony teachers will be eligible for the funding for the next four years.

The program is funded by the Texas Education Agency.

During this first year, 26 programs were chosen to receive the funding.

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