ADAMS TOWNSHIP — When it comes this year to buses and bus drivers, the Clinton-Massie school district is “going to be running pretty tight,” said the head of the CM Transportation Department.
Support Staff Supervisor Stephen Ford updated the school board about situations involving drivers and buses. With a recent resignation of a full-time driver, substitute drivers will temporarily fill that berth.
“So the next week or so we will be running a tight ship with only the bare minimum. If in fact we have a driver who has a situation and calls off, we may not have a driver to put on that route,” said Ford.
To make matters more ticklish, ridership on the middle and high school routes this year has increased significantly.
According to Ford, a key factor is that the incoming sixth grade, which is starting middle school, is a large class and many of its parents who last year dropped their children off and picked them up aren’t going to be doing that this year.
He speculated that may be due to the price of gasoline, to convenience, and to different work schedules or locations.
Whatever the causes, CM originally had four routes over capacity, he reported.
“So I had to re-route buses to shift over here, shift over there and work our way around,” said Ford.
As for the buses themselves, there were two CM buses involved in major accidents last school year, and they were supposed to be fixed and returned no later than late June.
But the repair workers are waiting on parts to arrive, he said.
As a result, the district has taken out of mothballs buses they weren’t going to have on-line and have now brought them back.
On Tuesday, Aug. 16 the last one of those buses was to be inspected and so there should be enough buses to cover the routes, said Ford.
In reply to a board member’s question, Ford said he tried to rent from the dealership Cardinal Buses with which CM has a relationship because of a purchasing consortium, but it is no longer allowed to rent buses.
Board members spent some time trying to come up with ways to deal with the driver shortage, which, as Ford noted, affects 98 percent of Ohio school districts.
Everyone here agrees the district needs to build up a pool of drivers because it has a number of them who will be retiring in the next one to three years.
Board President Jeremy Lamb said one possibility is to make use of the fact there are “a lot of self-employed people in this district” who perhaps could work into their schedule a morning bus route, for example.
In a separate administrative report, Clinton-Massie Director of Innovation and Learning David Moss spoke about the Falcon RISE initiative.
RISE he said represents four things: the encouraging of Reflection; being Intentional in one’s work; for staff to feel Supported; and creating an Empowered environment.
A two-year plan has been created on how the district will address some curriculum needs and how the district will address some of the needs of its staff, said Moss.
Supt. Matt Baker said the two-year plan or vision is a response to concerns that administrators have heard over the past year or two when it comes to curriculum, staff time, and the structure of meetings.
Moss reported that in early August the district’s impact team met with Sarah Henry, a co-author of Arrows: A Systems-Based Approach to School Leadership. According to a summary of the book, Arrows stems from a decade of growth and alignment within the Brownsburg Community School District in Brownsburg, Indiana.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.