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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Monday marks the first day of the 2022-23 school year for Limestone County Schools.

As the district welcomes its students back for a new year, some issues that plagued the district last year are back for round two.

Like many school systems, Limestone County Schools is searching for new bus drivers.

“About three years ago, we really struggled, but this has probably been the worst year that we’ve seen,” said Rusty Bates, Limestone County Schools Director of Transportation. 

The school system usually receives applications from small business owners, pastors, and spouses who may be up for the job, but anyone is welcome to apply if interested.

They’re currently down eight full-time positions and because of this, they’ve had to combine bus routes.

“We’re running a lot of double routes. We have a lot of drivers who are taking students from one bus and helping out. So, we’re splitting a lot of routes up, which is tough on parents. It’s tough on us as we try and communicate with parents that these changes are happening on the fly. They’re happening every morning and every afternoon,” Bates explained.

LCS officials say they’re anticipating an increase in students enrolled this year due to the growth the county has seen. What this means for residents in the county is that they can expect to see future expansions that will offer more for students.

“We’re renovating West Limestone High School currently – that’ll be ready on Monday,” Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearhouse explained. “It won’t be completely finished, but it will be ready to receive students on Monday. We’ve got plans to build on Johnson Elementary and so we’ve just got a lot of progress being made to plan for the growth that we are going to have in Limestone County.”

Shearouse said the school system also has a capital improvement plan in the works. LCS just approved building a new Elkmont elementary school, which Shearouse says will not only help the Elkmont community but the greater Limestone community as well. He added there are more developments to come.

As of Monday, school officials had not yet released information on the projects at West Limestone High and Johnson Elementary Schools.