MAYFLOWER, Ark – Some school districts in Central Arkansas say they’re still working to fill job vacancies with just two weeks left to the start of school.

In Mayflower, the elementary school principal says she just filled her last teaching vacancies, moving on now to tackle other openings.

Signs outside the school and district office make the need clear, this year the district is desperately searching for substitutes.

“Once covid hit we lost a lot of people who were willing to come into the school, and we just haven’t built that back up again,” said Mayflower Elementary School principal Candie Watts.

Watts says she is heading into the next school year as she did the last, with few names on the substitute list.

“This year so far we’ve only had one new substitute,” said Watts.

That one will be added to the list of already 15. At that number, teachers and staff say they are preparing to pick up the slack.

“We all work as a team here, so if it weren’t me, it might have been the library media specialist or it could be the art teacher [filling in],” said Watts.

Mayflower Public Schools Superintendent Andy Chisum says he’s seeing shortages across the board.

“You kind of had the nationwide great resignation as it’s been called,” said Chisum.

Chisum says he’s lost a bus driver and an I.T. professional in just the last week.

“The later in the summer you get, the more difficult it gets to fill those positions,” said Chisum.

School leaders say they’ll do their best to fill the vacancies, but with school just two weeks away, they are preparing for the worst.

“By planning for the worst then maybe we can have the best to experience,” said Watts.

Mayflower Public Schools will be hosting an open meeting for all those interested in substituting this school year.

The meeting will be held at Mayflower Middle School in the computer lab at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

To register, go to the Mayflower School districts website.