DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Hundreds of buses in the Dallas Independent School District are driving their routes on Wednesday, even though students do not return to classes until next week. The bus drivers are on a practice run. From a room at the district’s headquarters, officials have been tracking the bus routes to see if anything needs to be improved before the big day arrives.

The practice runs began at about 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. They are being monitored at a makeshift operations center, by workers with the Dallas ISD and with Dallas County Schools, the organization which provides and runs the district’s school buses. Those workers are following the buses on laptop computers, using GPS devices to keep track of each bus on its route.

Drivers on more than 400 bus routes in the school district are being timed and monitored in an attempt to ensure that things run smoothly on Monday, when students return for the first day of school. “Last year, we had glitches,” said Superintendent Mike Miles, “and I think every year there were glitches. And we have a few this year, too. It’s a big system, but practices like this are supposed to eliminate those.”

Miles will also be riding on a school bus on Wednesday to see how things go.

“It’s a practice run,” added Wanda Paul, the school district’s chief of operations. “We’re going to identify our weaknesses and what we need to do to improve as we go forward.”

Roughly 43,000 students depend on school buses for transportation in the Dallas ISD. After district workers conclude their practice runs on Wednesday, they will meet again on Thursday for a second round of practice.

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