NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Nashville’s first day of school comes with improvements in hiring school bus drivers. District leaders told News 2 Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) is in a much better place starting this school year compared to last year.

There are almost 300 drivers on staff compared to 264 at the same time in 2022. A district spokesman said they saw an increase in staffing thanks to an investment to increase bus driver salaries.

MNPS is still looking to hire an additional 60 to 75 drivers for the upcoming school year and in the future. They hope this will allow the district to fully cover routes and build a pool of substitute drivers in the event of absences or bus breakdowns.

Metro schools reopened with several teaching positions still left to be filled. District leaders tell News 2 that, as of Friday, Aug. 4, there were about 170 full-time classroom teacher openings still to be hired. They said principals have been interviewing throughout the summer and will continue through the start of school. The highest needs are with math, science, English-Learner and Exceptional Education teachers.

MNPS expanded the number of Classroom Associate positions this school year. These more than 300 permanent substitutes came from an investment by Nashville Mayor John Cooper and the Metro Council.