COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus City Schools leaders said the district is planning on transporting all students, public and non-public, kindergarten through 12th grades, on yellow school buses this coming school year.

In June, there was a proposal for high school students to use existing Central Ohio Transit Authority buses, but that has not been discussed by the board since that meeting.

District Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon provided an update during a Tuesday board meeting on where the district’s bus driver situation currently stands.

The board approved hiring an additional 25 drivers, bringing the total number of active drivers to 608.

Dixon also updated driver recruitment numbers, saying the district has interviewed 184 candidates and 146 of them have moved on into the next phase of the training process.

The board also approve a $326,000 purchase for routing optimization software to help streamline bus routes with the goal of reducing the number of routes needed.

When asked by CCS School Board Member Carol Beckerele if Dixon thought 608 drivers would be enough, Dixon said, “No, it is not enough, so we still have some recruitment. The process is going as we speak.”

“But we’re planning on using yellow buses in some form of another,” Beckerele then asked, to which Dixon said the district is doing so. 

Dixon said bus route information will be communicated to parents before the start of the school year on Aug. 26.

The district is continuing to hire more bus drivers in hopes of reaching its pre-pandemic number of 765 drivers.

Columbus City Schools is also surveying families, asking if they would opt out of using the district’s school buses and providing their own transportation for their children to and from school.