Kids and parents aren't the only ones who are busy getting ready for the first day of school. In Dallas, bus drivers are as well.
With former school bus agency Dallas County Schools now defunct, it's the Dallas Independent School District's responsibility to provide bus service to more than 35,000 students in the city.
To help make sure new drivers are prepared for the school year, district leaders called them in for an early morning practice Thursday, so they could become familiar with their routes and work out any kinks in the system ahead of Aug. 20.
"Undoubtedly, there will be some unforseen challenges during that first week of school, as there always is," said Kayne Smith, Executive Director of Student Transportation for Dallas ISD. "But I'm confident that we will overcome those and make the adjustments where necessary."
2018 has been a year of adjustments for Smith and his team, which has watched their department grow from four employees to nearly 1,000 since February.
That includes the more than 660 bus drivers they've hired -- which is still a bit short of their target of 750.
Smith notes the majority of the open positions are for substitute drivers, who would only fill in when the regular drivers are off.
He says they're still busy hiring and finalizing things, but overall, he feels good about where they're at.
"I can tell you that a lot of us were out here until 10 o'clock last night finalizing some things for this morning -- and we're right back here at 5 o'clock this morning welcoming back our drivers to their service centers to go out and drive their routes," Smith said. "We're confident we're ready. I know that our team is capable."
Smith says the drivers will do another test run on Aug. 17.