LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — Administration for the Leander Independent School District closed its open number of teaching positions by 150 going into the first day of school Wednesday. The district’s superintendent said only 80 teaching jobs are vacant; that number is down from 230 reported in mid-July.

Superintendent Bruce Gearing said the gap was closed by human resources staff and district principals searching extensively for teachers to fill its classrooms in the last couple months of summer. He said he is much more comfortable with the 80 vacancies.

“We have about 80 teaching positions, but when you put that in the context of we have over 2,300 teachers in the district, that number is not unreasonable this time in the year,” said Gearing.

Even with this more manageable number of vacancies, Gearing says the district is still on the hunt for qualified teaching candidates. He also says the district is frequently assessing it’s security and student-safety practices.

“We work very closely with the agencies in our community to make sure we are prepared,” said Gearing.

Gearing says a new student-safety feature making its debut this school year is its Smart-Tag system. The system tracks movements of students on Leander ISD buses, letting parents track from afar just where their student is.

“This has an app that goes with it that allows parents to know where they got on the bus, where they got off, and when to expect the bus to arrive at a particular stop,” said Gearing.

This Wednesday was just the first of many to come for the district. Superintendent Gearing says he’s thankful the first week has finally arrived and he anticipates a good year to follow it.

“We are thrilled to welcome back our students, it’s been a really challenging last three years for us,” said Gearing.

KXAN’s Mercedez Hernandez will have more from the district’s first day back on KXAN News at 4 p.m.