Some Florida educators left out of $1,000 bonuses

Eric Graff, a media specialist at Morningside Elementary School in Port St. Lucie, speaks to WPTV on May 27, 2021.jpg
Posted at 3:54 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 16:09:04-04

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — Some educators are voicing frustrations after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced principals and teachers will receive $1,000 bonuses.

But many people who work directly with students were left out.

"I've never seen any year like we've had this last year," said Eric Graff, who has spent more than three decades at Morningside Elementary School in Port St. Lucie.

Graff is the media specialist in the library, but still teaches classes.

"I have to do the exact same thing teachers do as far as recertification goes," Graff said.

But Graff is considered a non-classroom teacher. That means he doesn't qualify for the $1,000 bonus announced Wednesday by DeSantis after COVID-19 caused an extremely challenging school year.

"Recognizing a job well done and authorizing bonuses of $1000 for every principal and classroom teacher," DeSantis said.

The Education Association of St. Lucie County supports any compensation for its educators, ut the president believes many people were left in the cold.

"We're happy for those people receiving it. We just think that it's short-cited to do it this way that leaves out a lot of very important people in the education system," said David Freeland.

The governor said the bonuses will be part of the state budget he expects to sign soon, and they will go to every school district and charter school in Florida.

But Graff believes the bonuses should be across the board for every educator and support staff.

"Come spend some time down here and you tell me if you are just going to give to the classroom teachers, which absolutely deserve this, but the people that are left out it does hurt feelings," Graff said.