COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Reynoldsburg City Schools bus drivers are taking a stand against the Reynoldsburg City Schools Board of Education in the hopes that a year’s worth of transportation turmoil will soon be resolved.
At the school board meeting Tuesday night, members of the Reynoldsburg School Support Association presented a petition signed by a majority of the district’s bus drivers, who are demanding staff and safety upgrades within the transportation department.
According to RSSA president Jenny Russell, the petition asks that the district actively recruit more bus drivers to address the shortage of drivers and the “ongoing retention crisis” to ensure “consistent, adequate staffing levels”. The petition also asks for more transparency between the administration and bus drivers regarding scheduling, safety and staffing. Finally, it seeks to address “recent inequities in the transportation plans forced upon students, parents and community”.
The district and bus drivers have experienced major changes within the transportation department this school year, causing friction between the two sides.
Some of those changes included resignations of bus drivers pursuing better pay in neighboring districts or other careers, a proposal for a rotating remote learning schedule, and altering start and end times for various schools in the middle of the school year. After winter break, the district implemented new bus routes and on three occasions in February, the district announced that certain bus routes would not be in operation due to staffing shortages.
Adding to the frustration, Reynoldsburg parents that some received alerts early Wednesday morning explaining some routes did not have drivers and that the parents would need to take their children to school.
The district made a push for increased staffing, but did not have a timeline as to how long it might take to fully rebuild its bus team.
Tasked with resolving this issue is Dr. Racy Reed, the fourth superintendent hired this school year. Reed was officially named to the position in December, replacing Dr. Jocelyn Cosgrave, who was named interim superintendent in October after Dr. Dan Good tendered his resignation. Good stepped into the position in July after Dr. Garilee Ogden, originally selected in May to be superintendent, switched to a consulting position.
The district had not responded as of Thursday morning when NBC4 asked for comments on both the petition and morning route cancellations.