RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – It’s time to go back to school for students in Richmond, Henrico, and Petersburg.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Richmond Public School Superintendent Jason Kamras welcomed students off the bus today at J.L. Francis Elementary School. They spoke with 8News about the staffing shortages amongst the school districts.

“I am very excited. I think this is going to be our best year yet,” said Kamras.

According to the RPS School Board, more than a quarter of its teachers resigned from the District at the end of last school year. RPS offered multiple hiring incentives, such as a $2,000 signing bonus.

“We have zero bus driver vacancies, and we have filled over 95% of teacher vacancies, and we have great long-term substitutes,” said Kamras. “We are continuing to hire year-round.”

Mayor Levar Stoney also welcomed students back for a new school year. In addition, he addressed the District’s low SOL test scores from last school year – a highly discussed topic at last week’s emergency school board meeting.

“I think RPS has been focused on a growth mindset,” said Stoney. “The administration from the Superintendent to the staff have that same mindset and are asking “how do we get our students from where they were yesterday to a better place tomorrow.”