City schools work to alleviate overcrowding headaches

When it comes to creating bus routes for Memphis City Schools, officials say it is a numbers game, based on population.  At the beginning of each school year, Memphis City Schools transportation coordinator Jeff Barnasky has the same problem: late registration.

"We have to wait until all the students are registered to finalize our busing plan," he said.
Not only does it delay the busing plan, according to Barnasky, late registration can cause overcrowded buses.

"Registration is still going on at this point and time," he said Tuesday. "It's very difficult for us to determine where the students are."

Memphis City Schools base bus routes on population, using their plan from the previous year. When parents don't register students, it becomes harder to track population shifts.  As a result, children who should be riding sometimes end up walking, because there's no room on the school bus.
Monday, our cameras captured pictures of students taking a shortcut along I-55 to get to Walker Middle School.  Those students blamed overcrowding on their bus.  Barnasky insists there are enough buses, and said a new tracking system will help him address parents complaints.

"We're able to track it," he said, "and then within a day or so move buses to relieve it."
In the meantime, the district is working through the problem by putting extra buses on the roads, until registration is complete.