A new report shows the statewide teacher shortage is felt most acutely in districts with lots of low-income students. But it's also hitting rural and wealthier districts.
Williamsfield is a village halfway between Peoria and Galesburg, with fewer than 300 students.
Superintendent Tim Farquer says he can't find teachers who meet state licensing requirements for every subject. Instead, he's filing paperwork seeking waivers.
"What we're hopeful for is that folks will realize that this is an emergency situation, and that districts and potential candidates need immediate licensure relief to increase the number of quality applicants on the market."
Paula Markey, superintendent of the West Central district, near the Iowa border, says she offers potential teachers a $500-dollar incentive. Others offer even more.
"There are school districts that have offered like $500 the first year, and then if they're still there the second year $1,000, and if they're still there the third year like $1,500. And that's to try to not only attract teachers but also to keep them in the district."
A new report from the advocacy group Advance Illinois shows the shortage is even more critical in schools with lots of low-income students.