SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – There is a need for highly qualified licensed teachers and in Springfield, the second biggest school district in New England, there are new positions to fill as well.

While students are filling their backpacks and getting ready for the school year, many districts are working overtime trying to secure teachers to educate them.

Making this more difficult in Massachusetts is what some people are calling a complex or unfair licensure process. While organizations like the Massachusetts Teachers Association and Senator Adam Gomez push for alternatives to licensure, spots remain empty.

“I saw one of my favorite teachers leave and then, I saw one of our counselors leave the school. So I saw stuff like that, because I also saw the Vice Principal leave too, so even the Vice Principal left,” said student Mateo Boyd.

A study from the American Federation of Teachers says many have been leaving the profession due to inadequate compensation, lack of respect and struggles with COVID-19. In Springfield, the second largest district in New England, the district has seen the number of new positions increase as well.

Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools Daniel Warwick told 22News, “This year the challenge was greater because again of the pandemic and the great resignation, but also over the last two years we received a great deal of extra funding for the student opportunity act. So we are actually adding positions to schools, not just filling where we had vacancies. So we’re doing more hiring.”

The superintendent added that it’s the positions that historically need filling like math, science, special needs, where they continue to experience a need for qualified teachers.