Reynoldsburg City Schools has agreed to share more than a dozen of its school bus drivers with neighboring Hilliard City Schools so it can continue operations during the pandemic.
Dr. John Marschhausen, superintendent of Hilliard City Schools, told WBNS that his school district was experiencing a driver shortage this winter due to COVID-19 quarantines and paid time off. To help alleviate the issue, Marschhausen added that one of the district’s business managers came up with the idea of using bus drivers from Reynoldsburg City Schools to help transport their hybrid-learning students to school.
While both districts have tried at different times to keep their school bus drivers employed with other district jobs, the partnership with Reynoldsburg City Schools has been a “win-win” in keeping drivers paid, Marschhausen told WBNS. He added that the bus drivers are still getting checks from Reynoldsburg City Schools, but Hilliard foots the bill for the cost of the drivers.
Hilliard City Schools currently has a total of 130 bus drivers, Stacie Raterman, the district’s director of communications, told School Bus Fleet. She added that the district will only need about half of Reynoldsburg’s offered pool of 20 drivers.
“Knowing this safety net is in place has been important for our plans to return to hybrid learning after the winter break. We have been able to utilize some of [Reynoldsburg’s] drivers already,” Raterman said. “The drivers have appreciated knowing that their jobs are secure, and that they wouldn’t need to double route if others were out sick or off for other reasons. This allowed a sense of normalcy for our transportation team.”
Melvin Brown, superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools, told WBNS that the agreement with Hilliard began during the district’s second semester. The news source reports that the agreement will continue until Reynoldsburg returns to a hybrid learning plan, which the district announced it will return to on Jan. 19.