Bus Routes A Big Issue As SCS Prepares For First Day Of Classes

(Memphis) Mere hours from the start of the new school year, and Shelby County School officials are making sure buses are ready to roll Monday morning.

The school buses have been going all week making practice runs, getting ready for thousands of young feet to step on board.

Parents of first-time bus riders have a few jitters.

“I don’t want nothing to happen to him. I don’t want him to be left on the bus. I want somebody to take him off the bus and get him in school,” says Elexas Virginia, the mother of a young child starting school this year.

The Shelby County School System expects worries now that two school systems have  merged into one.

“The thing that’s causing me heartburn and keeping me up at night is just the transportation. The reason is parental zones changed. The way we deliver transportation changed,” says Shelby County School Superintendent Dorsey Hopson.

The Friday before classes school leaders sat down to address what to  expect with 470 bus routes and drivers making three morning and three afternoon runs to schools that start at 7, 8 and 9 a.m. and let out at 2, 3 and 4 p.m.

If one bus is late, it can throw everything off.

Also, now middle and high school students who live less than twomiles from school, instead of 1.5, will have to find their own transportation or walk.

“You may have some parents who may not have paid attention to parental zone changes. They may show up at bus routes, drop children off at bus routes and buses never come,” says Hopson.

The school system says if there are dangers for students who do walk, things can be rearranged.

“I was skeptical about it at first, now I am kind of comfortable with it. It has changed,” says Tenika Burse, a parent from East Memphis.

If you have a child in the kindergarten or first grade, transportation managers say someone must be at the bus stop to get them when they are let off the bus.

Otherwise the child will be taken back to the school.

If you have any questions about school transportation, call the transportation hotline at 901-321-2280.