The last budget bill, House Bill 33, made significant changes to public education in Ohio. Over the last few months, OSBA’s legal division has been sharing information and resources developed by the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) to implement those changes. One of those resources, a bus driver flex career path model, rolled off the DEW assembly line in Columbus last week. 

Many of Ohio’s school districts transport students who attend their own schools and students who attend community and nonpublic schools. Some of these districts have struggled to attract and retain bus drivers. The bus driver flex career model gives districts another tool to address the driver shortage by providing guidance and recommendations on successfully hiring and retaining drivers. 

The law, Ohio Revised Code (RC) 3327.102, required that, in developing the model, DEW would: 

  1. Ensure that bus drivers work an 8 to 10 hour shift by doing a morning or afternoon bus route and spending the rest of the day working as an educational aide or student monitor for the district. 
  2. Recommend how to implement the model, including who would be responsible for paying wages to the career-flex employee. 
  3.  Ensure that the model will not adversely affect the bus driver’s pension. 

The model addresses benefits to drivers and districts. For drivers, benefits include: 

  • More hours than part-time employment typically offered to bus drivers. 
  • Higher salaries for additional hours, boosting final average retirement salaries. 
  • Ability to serve students, staff and parents as an integral part of the school’s community. 

For districts, benefits include: 

  • Ability to offer bus drivers greater employee satisfaction and improved working conditions. 
  • A competitive edge when recruiting drivers. 
  • Ability to serve as a “grow-your-own” program to recruit current employees to also become bus drivers. 

The model covers the minimum requirements for dual positions, including bus driver certification and educational aide/student monitor permits. It also includes recommendations for compensation and benefits, working conditions, compliance with background check, licensing and other requirements, and professional development.   

Finally, the model encourages districts to consider other employees for dual careers. Employees including custodians, cooks, maintenance staff, classroom aides, teachers, coaches and others who are working part time can be considered for dual employment as bus drivers. 

If you have questions about the legal requirements for bus driver career flexibility, OSBA’s legal division is available to provide information and resources at (855) OSBA-LAW. If your district needs transportation resources, OSBA’s senior transportation consultant, Doug Palmer, is also available to help - (614) 540-4000, ext. 240. 

Posted by Jennifer A. Hardin on 3/18/2024