HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) - The start of classes for Horry County Schools is next week and three new schools are slated to open in the district.
That impacts not only where students will go to school, but how they'll get there.
"We had to change all the routes, you add a new school you have to change the routes," said Executive Director of Transportation Service for HCS, Jim Wright.
Wright says he expects a learning curve for the new bus routes, but your child shouldn't have a longer wait at the bus stop or a longer ride to school.
"The first week or two of school with the traffic and everybody not knowing when to be out there, routes are a little bit slower, takes a little longer," explained Wright, "until it settles down and people get in the direction they need to go."
To make the process smoother Wright recommends parents check out an interactive map on the Horry County Schools website.
"You can pull that up find out which bus you're on, which route and roughly what time," said Wright.
One of the biggest challenges going into the year is that the new schools are in busy traffic areas, so they've added 10 more buses.
"The routes are actually shorter, when we added more buses, we reduced down the length of the routes in that particular area," explained Wright.
Horry County School leaders say they've had a hard time filling vacant bus driver jobs, last year the school district started the school year with 34 vacancies.
This year, that number is down to 24, even while the district expanded the number of positions from 389 to 399.
"The school board allowed us additional some additional drivers this past year and I was able to recruit more people," said Wright, "so we're in a lot better position than last year."
Wright added that with 23 relief drivers, he is confident students will get to school on time, "we'll relocate those to certain areas around the county to make sure that all our buses are covered."
School leaders are still looking at ways to bring in more drivers, including increasing the number of hours in a pay day from the current six to at least seven.
"We're still working on that with the school board hoping we can bump it up," said Wright, "that should help us get over the hump and get the rest of the people in here that we need in here."
If you want to apply, visit https://www.applitrack.com/horry/onlineapp/default.aspx?Category=Transportation.