GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The school year for many districts in Eastern North Carolina is right around the corner. As students and teachers are getting ready for a new year, some school districts are trying to fill vacant positions.

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Education officials say nationwide, not as many people are becoming teachers. School systems in Pitt, Beaufort and Lenoir counties are all looking for teachers.

“We are probably closer to about 20 to 30 vacancies right now and counting,” said Kristi Rhone, Pitt County Schools Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.

“We currently have nine teaching positions open, so not a ton,” said Kristen Riddle, Beaufort County Schools Public Information Officer

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“We have about 46 openings which is about 30 more than we normally have at this time,” said Patrick Holmes with Lenoir County Public Schools.

School officials say seeing these vacancies even with sign-on bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the district.

“The issue is that everybody is offering some kind of bonus,” Holmes said. “What we’re doing is trying to stay competitive.”

The shortages are making districts get creative to fill the gaps.

“We’re blessed by having a large core of substitute teachers, many of whom are retired teachers, who can step in to fill some classroom space if we need that,” Holmes said. “Technology offer is also an option.”

“Another thing we may have to do is shuffle the kids around with larger class sizes,” Riddle said.

That means even hiring people who are looking to make a career change.

“If you haven’t had any experience in the classroom but you have an interest in students and you would like to support them in that, we would love for you to come out and interview,” Rhone said.

All districts said they’re making these decisions to keep students’ education as the top priority.

“We’re gonna do everything we need to make sure students get the in-person instruction they need,” Holmes added.

You can visit, Pitt, Beaufort and Lenoir County Schools’ websites for more information on open positions, qualifications and information on signing bonuses