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Columbus Board of Education Seeks More Details on Transportation Recommendation for the 2021-2022 School Year

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June 30, 2021 -- The Columbus Board of Education did not take action at last night’s meeting on a proposal to change the District’s transportation service model for its high school students. The recommendation would have students in grades 9-12 using district-provided COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority) Bus Passes instead of yellow school bus transportation to get to and from school for the 2021-2022 school year.

During the Board’s June 15 meeting, transportation administrators put forth the recommendation due to the nationwide bus driver shortage exacerbated by the pandemic. 

The Board removed the transportation proposal from Tuesday’s agenda and asked for more information about the plan and solutions for transporting all students, K-12. The Board is now on summer recess for the month of July. Any change would need to be voted on and approved by the Board at either a special meeting or regular business meeting. The Board will return to its bi-monthly schedule beginning Tuesday, August 3. 

Currently, the District has 612 active bus drivers to cover approximately 704 school bus routes and any potential call-offs that might occur. During a typical school year, the District is responsible for routing approximately 45,000 transportation eligible students, including all CCS, Charter, and Non-Public School students to and from school. 

The District’s Human Resources Department has set forth an aggressive recruitment campaign to hire more bus drivers, including increasing bus driver trainee pay from $11 to $18.50 per hour to be more competitive. Applications can be submitted at Additional community outreach strategies include working with Ohio Job and Family Services, the Columbus Urban League, churches, and libraries to encourage candidates. 

The District will soon solicit feedback from families of students eligible for yellow bus transportation via a transportation survey in Infinite Campus Parent Portal. The survey will allow the District to assess the feasibility of transporting more students for in-person instruction and providing reliable and safe transportation, which is critical in transitioning all students back to their classrooms.