Shelby County Commissioner looks to MATA to help SCS students this fall

Shelby County Commissioner looks to MATA to help SCS students this fall

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One Shelby County Commissioner it looking to MATA to help students this fall. Commissioner Tami Sawyer is wanting to work with MATA to possibly provide rides to SCS students.

This discussion about how MATA can help Shelby County Schools’ students this school year is in its infancy. But partnerships between SCS and MATA are not new. Last school year the district provided thousands of bus passes for students and parents.

In a letter to Shelby County Commissioner Edmund Ford Jr. this week, Dr. Ray posed questions to the Board of Commissioners including, are commissioners providing funding for transportation to assist in reducing capacity on school buses?

“I thought he raised some valid questions,” Sawyer said.

Commissioner Sawyer said she’s reached out to MATA to start discussions about how the public transportation system can help supplement student transportation.

“I just shot out an email [Thursday] looks like we’ll meet Friday or Monday to see how all parties including the county can help provide that resources should schools open,” Sawyer said.

“Our biggest goal right now is getting through the pandemic and getting kids back to school,” Shelby County Board of Education Member Kevin Woods said.

Woods helped pass a memorandum of understanding last year for the district to buy 3,000 year long bus passes for high school students and students’ families. The program ended last school year. Woods said 50 percent of the passes were used.

Talks of expanding the program have continued.

“I think we need to figure out how to use the allotment that we purchased,” Woods said.

Commissioner Sawyer said MATA could help create more social distancing on school buses by having more students ride its buses. However, MATA too is only allowing a certain number of passengers to ride at a time.

“I think we could find an innovative way for them to work together by either expanding the bus pass program or loaning buses to SCS,” Sawyer said.

MATA is not commenting on any possibilities of a partnership since the formal meeting to hammer out any details or ideas has not happened.

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