Students in Sumner County returned to school Thursday after an extended summer vacation due to a budget tug-of-war between the board of education and county commission.
At Guild Elementary School in Gallatin, teachers spent time Wednesday putting books on desks, filling up shelves with supplies and painting doorways.
Principal Lance Taylor told Nashville's News 2 that despite the frustration of the past 10 days, the school was ready to open their doors.
"I'm ready for the kids to be back. We've missed them, we love them here and I'm just ready to see little faces," he said while painting walls and doorways with dark green paint.
Taylor said he and his teachers have been ready for students' arrival for more than a week.
"We were ready for them to come August 6 and we're ready for them to come August 16," he said.
Although school doors weren't officially open, Taylor said his teachers and staff have been coming to the school regularly to get classrooms, the library and hallways ready for students.
Reading teacher Heather Hays told Nashville's News 2 she was excited to see her textbooks when she came to the school Wednesday morning.
Usually the books don't arrive until after school has started.
While Hays said she is happy to be back at school, she and other teachers are a little anxious about proposed cutbacks by the school board.
"I think we're disappointed overall. Nobody wants to come back and see your friend lose their job or to be scared that you're going to lose your job, or be moved to another grade," she said.
Schools director Del Phillips told county commissioners that without an extra $2.7 million cuts will have to be made, including the possibility of teacher layoffs.
Taylor said all of that discussion between school board members and county commissioners has caused some anxiety in staff members.
"I'm not sure how we're ultimately not cut some personnel" he said. "Some fear just because it's natural, human tendency to fear losing your job. Not because someone told them they are, but they're still here working, hoping that they'll have a job."
The Sumner County School Board meets Tuesday to discuss budget cuts and to look at options for a new school year calendar and how to make up the eight missed days.