Harmony (copy)

Students and their families line up to register at the Harmony School of Innovation in 2017, before its first year in operation as the second Harmony school in Waco. The charter system has announced teacher raises for the upcoming year that will place its local starting salary at $50,500.

Harmony Public Schools will increase teacher salaries by $3,500 to $8,000 starting next school year, exceeding the minimum requirements of the new salary schedule signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott last week.

Every Harmony teacher will receive a base salary increase between $3,500 and $5,000, according to a press release. Teachers with more than five years of classroom experience will receive an additional $1,000, and teachers with more than 10 years of experience will receive an extra $2,000.

Teachers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math will receive an additional $3,000, in an effort to attract more educators with STEM backgrounds.

Harmony Public Schools has 57 campuses across the state, with two in Waco: Harmony Science Academy and Harmony School of Innovation, both on Valley Mills Drive. The Waco locations currently employ 74 teachers.

With the salary increases, the starting salary in Waco will be $50,500 next school year.

“We see this as an investment not only in our teachers but in our students, as well,” Harmony Public Schools CEO Fatih Ay wrote in the press release. “Every year our 35,000-plus students consistently exceed state education standards. Our teachers’ hard work is recognized annually by major publications, such as US News Best High Schools, and noted children’s advocacy groups.”

The current starting salary at Harmony in Waco is $47,000.

At the Waco Independent School District, the starting salary for this school year was $46,100, according to the district’s website.

The Midway Independent School District’s starting salary for this school year was $45,000, according to its website.

The La Vega Independent School District’s starting salary for this school year was $41,888, according to its website.

These school districts likely will raise salaries for next school year, as the $11.5 billion school finance reform package signed by Abbott mandates teachers receive a salary increase.

The new minimum salary set by the state is $33,660, according to the Texas Education Agency website.

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Brooke Crum joined the Tribune-Herald as the education reporter in January 2019. She has worked for the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, Abilene Reporter-News, Beaumont Enterprise and the Port Arthur News. Crum graduated from TCU in Fort Worth.

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