Short on bus drivers, Hilliard City Schools could use Reynoldsburg personnel in first weeks of 2021

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
Hilliard City Schools buses line up to pick up students.

If Hilliard City Schools remains in its hybrid educational mode when classes resume Jan. 4 after winter break, the district likely will be using some bus drivers from Reynoldsburg City Schools to transport students.

“We are currently short around 10 drivers,” said Cliff Hetzel, director of business for Hilliard City Schools.

Some are on long-term leave and others because of the COVID-19 coronavirus or associated quarantine procedures, Hetzel said.

“Our substitute-driver pool is very short, similar to our substitute-teacher pool,” he said.

Hilliard can use drivers from Reynoldsburg because Reynoldsburg leaders already have determined students will learn remotely for at least the first two weeks of January, Hilliard Superintendent John Marschhausen said.

The Reynoldsburg bus drivers would be compensated based on Hilliard’s salary schedule, which is based on years of service, Hetzel said.

ThisWeek did not receive a requested salary schedule from the district before this story was published.

“We anticipate needing to bring on 10 drivers in January," Hetzel said.

Reynoldsburg is providing Hilliard a pool of 20 drivers from whom to select, Hetzel said.

Hilliard school board members approved the agreement by resolution Dec. 14 at the request of Marschhausen.

The Reynoldsburg school board approved a companion resolution Dec. 15, Hetzel said.

Hilliard school board President Mark Abate said the effort is another example of the “creative ways” that Hilliard is striving to educate students during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a great partnership and a way to keep more drivers working,” Hetzel said.

Utilizing the out-of-district drivers means Hilliard will not need to employ "double routes" for drivers, according to Stacie Raterman, director of communications for the district.

"Whenever we have had shortages in drivers, we have some drivers double-route," she said.

When Reynoldsburg drivers no longer are available to the district, Hilliard would resume double-routing, as well as having transportation supervisors assume driving routes, Raterman said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo