COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — In one month, tens of thousands of students will be returning to Columbus City School’s classrooms.
Transportation is a top priority and right now the district is rounding out a month-long recruiting process for drivers.
But how are those efforts are panning out?
The district’s transportation operation manager said when it comes to bussing students, she feels the district is in a good place for the start of the year.
“We’re looking at about 600 drivers to start, which is a good start for Columbus and what our needs are currently,” said Columbus City Schools Transportation Operations Manager Michelle Brooks.
Brooks says through a transportation job fair, the district has been able to hire and fully train 40 new drivers.
“We would love to see an additional 50 get in here and apply — get interviewed and go through the process,” Michelle Brooks said. “Total, we’re looking at about 130 (new drivers).”
One of the newest recruits is Michelle’s daughter. Ryann Brooks will be behind the wheel for her first year as a bus driver.
“I’m just doing ride-alongs, riding with the kids on the bus,” Ryann Brooks said. “Helping out the driver, driving when there are kids on the bus, until boarding comes.” Those are the kind of things Ryann is doing in preparation for the first school day.
Ryann Brooks said she has passed all her tests and is ready to go.
“Might seem hard at first, but once… it’s like muscle memory once you start to learn and understand it,” she said. “You have trainers to help you, so I advise everyone to come and do it if it’s something you’ve thought about.”
Michelle Brooks said recruitment will continue into the school year and beyond, saying she’d like to see a bus driver pool of about 700 drivers, the size the pool was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even though the job fair is technically ending on Friday, we will still remain open,” she said. “Anyone who wants to come in we will not turn anyone away.”
Michelle Brooks also wants to remind families that if their child is in grades 9 through 12 and are transportation eligible, they do have to opt-in for bussing this year.
Along with drivers, the district is looking to fill several other positions — everything from substitute teachers to food services and beyond.
“On August 8, we have a teacher and substitute teacher career fair at our 3700 building and we have an upcoming career fair that’s on-site as well at our 3700 building for custodians, safety and security, and instructional assistants,” said Columbus City Schools Director of Talent Acquisition Terri Trigg.
The first day of classes for students is Aug. 24.
For a list of open positions in the district, click here.