PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Teachers are leaving their positions nationwide because of COVID-19, low pay, and behavioral issues with students, but Peoria Public School Superintendent, Dr. Sharon Kherat, said the district is working hard to keep staff.

“All year long we have been sort of monitoring and preparing and just working hard to stay ahead of the crisis, and we’re in a very good place,” said Kherat.

Some staff, however, are still lacking.

Kherat said, “We would like to see more special education teachers, we have about 14 openings there.”

The district is also looking to fill 13 core positions, which are general education teachers, and eight encore positions, which are public speaking teachers. While the district recruits, on the plus side, more than a third of Peoria Public Schools are fully staffed.

“At Peoria Public Schools, I’m really excited to say that we have 10 fully staffed buildings that are ready to go,” said Kherat.

Those fully staffed schools include Peoria High, Manuel, and Richwoods.

With the implementation of a new schedule, starting the school year earlier with more balanced breaks, School Board President Gregory Wilson, said it has caused some staff members to leave.

“There’s a lot of variables in place. Some teachers are going to like it, some teachers are not, and have decided to leave for a district that kind of suits their calendar needs,” said Wilson.

The new schedule, however, he said will positively affect the students.

“The schools never close, so even though there are breaks at different times where there weren’t breaks before, the school remains open. Students that are in need of help or additional assistance, that opportunity is there, and our school doors will be open for them,” said Wilson.

Despite some positions still being open, Kherat said she is not worried.

“We have some strong permanent subs who have worked with us in the past. They will be guaranteed work for the entire year, which makes it a better arrangement for them and for the buildings,” said Kherat.

Kherat also said there will be sign-on bonuses for those hard-to-fill positions, which include special education, science, math, and more.