On Monday, local school officials said because of fewer teachers entering the workforce, they're having a hard time filling vacancies. But teachers say the real issue is retention.
"The reason we're losing most of all, it's not because of better pay elsewhere, better benefits elsewhere, its the working and learning conditions are extremely stressful," said Jeff Adkins-Dutro.
Peoria Federation of Teachers president Jeff Adkins-Dutro says these poor working conditions can be attributed to bad classroom environments.
"And it's more than just classroom management, they're trying to bring chaos under control, they're getting cussed out to be quite frank, and you know a person can only take so much of that before they can't take it anymore," said Adkins-Dutro.
He argues that the size of the workforce is not the issue in Peoria but to stop them from leaving, he believes students need higher expectations.
"The first step would be to set a higher bar for both academic and behavior and then provide the resources necessary to help students live up to that bar," said Adkins-Dutro.
While Peoria Public Schools claims they can still find qualified subs, teachers like Jamie Alcorn Quinn say not all subs are actually qualified.
"Two of my friends, while [they] both have degrees and are decent human beings do not possess a teaching degree [nor] qualification for the content area of teaching," said Quinn over Facebook Messenger.
In response to Adkins-Dutro criticisms, Peoria Public Schools released the following statement: "Results from an independent, third-party survey of Peoria Public School teachers this year show that we are meeting teacher needs in collaboration and quality professional development. Our discipline rates continue to improve thanks to our focus on social-emotional learning."