SAN ANTONIO (WOAI) — Some Texas school districts will have the opportunity to show its teachers how much they are appreciated with a vast salary increase.
According to a press release, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced 26 school districts will be recipients of the new Teacher Incentive Allotment, which is a special fund generated to reward the highest performing educators in the state with a salary raise of up to $32,000 starting this fall.
The incentive first launched in 2019 as part of Texas' new education bill, HB3, which was to provide new funds for pay raises for Texas teachers across-the-board.
Furthermore, the purpose of this additional salary increase was set with the goal of providing teachers with a six-figure salary. Particularly, those who demonstrated exceptional performance in what the TEA described as "hard-to-staff" teaching positions in low-income as well as rural communities. Selected teachers would receive between $3,000-$32,000 per year for five years in added salary, directly from the TEA.
Of the 26 districts in Texas, five of the districts were from Harmony Public Schools, including one of the campuses here in San Antonio, were chosen for the Teacher Incentive Allotment funds.
Harmony Public Schools CEO Fatih Ay said this reward will demonstrate the extraordinary impact the school's teachers have on their students.
“Each day at Harmony Public Schools, we see how teachers have the extraordinary ability to make a deep and lasting impact on the lives of the children they reach,” Ay said. “We are glad to have the opportunity to see them rewarded even further for all they do for our students and their families, and appreciative of the TEA for making this possible."
News 4 Trouble Shooter Jaie Avila was able to visit with a fourth-grade teacher at Harmony who will be receiving a significant bump in her next paycheck because of the results she's been able to achieve in the classroom.
“Just to get this award, it feels like everything I worked for has paid off," said Jessica Palma.
The incentive bonuses are based on the teacher’s effectiveness and the growth of their students' performance.
“There's so many teachers that are amazing and it will just give them that extra push to stay in the profession," Palma said.
Harmony, a charter public school district and Somerset ISD were the districts in San Antonio to receive incentives. Other districts like Edgewood, East Central, Harlandale, South San and Southside also applied for them.
Why might some districts be awarded those incentives while others are not?
Avila put that question to Grace Wu of the Texas Education Agency, who says the districts selected currently already had a system for grading teachers in place.
“We looked at how well did this district rate their teachers? Is their calibration across campuses? Basically, was it fair for every teacher in their district?" Wu said.
Other San Antonio school districts are also being given time to build a system for evaluating teachers and they will be eligible for incentives next school year; this is just the first round.
For more information on the Teacher Incentive Allotment funds, click HERE.