MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — On Monday officials in Maryland’s largest school district held a press conference saying they are still working to fill hundreds of staff positions.

Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight said she won’t be satisfied until the district is fully staffed. According to MCPS this hiring season they have almost 900 new teachers who will begin orientation next week. They also say they have been actively recruiting throughout the year, but it is more competitive because so many districts are looking for candidates and less people are graduating from programs.

Noticeably absent from Monday’s meeting was the teachers union. Montgomery County Education Association’s President, Jennifer Martin says they are working to negotiate some of the issues teachers are facing such as untimely involuntary transfers and workload concerns.

“It’s not that there’s really a shortage of good people to do the work, there’s a shortage of respect, there’s a shortage of compensation, there’s a shortage of good working conditions,” said Martin.

MCPS’s school year begins in less than 3 week and they have just over 600 available openings. For teachers specifically there are 157 full-time positions that need to be filled as 89 teachers currently are awaiting to be approved before they start.

The district’s starting salary for teachers averages around $62,0000. Dawn Iannaco-Hahn is an MCPS parents who says MCPS should have rang the alarm sooner about this issue.

“We also need time to plan, not just the staff,” said Iannaco-Hahn. “They need time to plan in a different way. We need a time to plan to work out our schedules and to prep our kids.”

MCEA also says teachers working conditions are students learning conditions. Iannaco-Hahn says she is worried about how this will impact her child’s education.

“Kids have had so much uncertainty over the last couple of years, that also affects you,” said Iannaco-Hahn. “My area is mental health and that affects a child’s mental health too like, can I depend on my, my teacher to be there?”