Revere still fighting shortage of bus drivers

by Sheldon Ocker

Aug. 16 school board meeting

Revere schools Treasurer Rick Berdine reminded the board of education that shortages of personnel is a pervasive problem for school districts around the country.

Superintendent Michael Tefs reported that a scarcity of bus drivers remains an issue for Revere.

“We continue to try and fill those positions,’’ he said. “Right now, we’re five positions short.’’

Recently, the district hired two drivers but attrition continues to slow progress.

“We feel like we have a pretty good plan to close the gap,’’ Tefs said. “I think we can get the five positions down to three relatively quickly. We feel like as we work our way through the fall – by the end of October or the beginning of November – we can potentially fill all five of the vacancies.’’

However, as he finished his sentence, the superintendent pointed out, “Sadly, though, as fast as we fill them, we’ll have two more retirements. If we have any vacancies or absences, we are going to struggle.’’

The “struggle’’ would involve combining routes and forcing students to spend more time on buses.

“The drivers that are there, the mechanics that are there, are the best I’ve ever seen,’’ Tefs said.

Revere is advertising for drivers, with starting salaries ranging from $21.07 to $26.82, depending on experience. The district also is seeking substitute teachers and has raised the pay rate to $134 per day.

     Free stuff

When the district has items that no longer are useful, there is a legal process that must be followed before they can be thrown out, given away or sold.

“We went through the statutory process for an auction and held that auction last week with little or no success,’’ Berdine said.

Instead of advancing to the nearest dumpster with the unwanted stuff, the board had another idea. They asked that a trailer containing the discarded items be opened up for the public to take any item inside.  After thee days, the items were to be disposed of.

   Showing appreciation

A group of 12 teachers and PTA members visited the meeting to extoll the work of Richfield Elementary principal Anthony Stretar.

“When Mr. Stretar became our principal in the fall of 2020, he probably came into a tougher situation than he imagined or anticipated,’’ said one Richfield teacher, speaking for the group. “Our building was looking for strong leadership and guidance through a tough time of transition.

“He made such a powerful impact in a short time, probably more than he realized. He instilled a culture of collaboration at Richfield Elementary. He continues to be an amazing asset to the staff and the community, as well.’’

   Other items

• Board member Claudia Hower reported that the partial roof replacement at Richfield Elementary is finished and that the repaving of the parking lot was within one day of completion.

• The new bus wash at the bus garage is also nearing completion. The board approved the $253,000 expenditure to replace the roof on the old gym at the middle school.

• Hower and Berdine spoke to the board about the need for new playground equipment for kindergarten students at Richfield Elementary. “We’ve been talking about a playground for the better part of a year,’’ Berdine said. “It’s not cheap. Playgrounds are not cheap. We’re trying to figure out what works. It is something that needs our attention.’’

• The board recommended the appointment of board President Keith Malick as delegate and Sabitsch as alternate to the Ohio School Board Association’s annual business conference. ∞