OAKWOOD, Ill. (WCIA) — “We’ve never had to do this before in years past and now it’s becoming the norm,” Larry Maynard said.

Superintendent Larry Maynard is talking about dealing with a teacher shortage.

He says districts across the country have been battling the issue for 20 years. He added the last few years haven’t helped.

“Yeah, I think income you know is a factor in it, you know the last couple years with this whole Covid situation, it’s created some difficulties and it kind of strained us and created some divisiveness about what’s going on,” Maynard said.

The district needs to fill four positions. They say they haven’t been able to find people who are licensed for them. Leaders have hired some substitutes, but they need more which was part of the discussion at the district-wide meeting. About two dozen people showed up.

“We’re just trying to promote what a great opportunity this is to be a part of the educational process and system, working with our kids, you know the next generation,” Maynard said.

Rhonda Kirkpatrick, who’s been a bus driver for 15 years, is already hopping aboard.

“Thought it be something fun to do in my spare time,” Kirkpatrick said.

She says her kids went to school at Oakwood. Now her grandkids are there and she’s eager to get started.

The superintendent says the substitutes are part of their short-term solution. To help with the long-term solution, the district will continue to work with universities to find qualified candidates.

For now, Kirkpatrick says she’s just excited to get to work.

“I’m going to love it, anytime I can be around kids and help them to learn new things, it’s great, I just love kids,” Kirkpatrick said.