ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois schools are having trouble recruiting teachers, and data suggests less-than-qualified applicants are being hired to fill the void.

According to a survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS), 30% of teacher positions went unfilled or went to a less-than-qualified hire, the State Journal-Register reported.

“No matter how much we’re trying, we’re not filling all the positions and the ones we are filling are people who aren’t necessarily qualified to teach what their assignment is,” IARSS President Mark Klaisner said.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, more than 5,300 positions went unfilled in 2022.

School districts responding to a 2022 IARSS survey revealed that 68% had fewer teacher applicants than in 2021, and 45% of districts said the shortage was worse than last year.

The Illinois Educator Shortage Survey revealed the shortages due to multiple factors, including unrealistic expectations on educators and schools; unsafe work environments; years of deprofessionalizing the field through inadequate pay; and unstable retirement benefits.

The state legislature set the minimum salary for teachers at $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year.

To address the shortage, Gov. JB Pritzker signed four bills into law in April 2022, one of which allows teaching students with at least 90 credit hours to be licensed as substitute teachers.