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Hopson: Registration numbers ‘somewhat disappointing’ as Memphis schools approach Day One

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson speaks at a news briefing days before the start of the school year.
Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson speaks at a news briefing days before the start of the school year.
Laura Faith Kebede

With only days before the opening bell for Tennessee’s largest school district, a fourth of its students have yet to register and more than a hundred staff positions must be filled.

Leaders of Shelby County Schools reported Friday that about 74,000 kids were registered for classes that begin on Monday. That’s up from 34,000 students as of mid-June but nowhere close to the projected enrollment of more than 103,000.

Last school year, the district’s enrollment was more than 109,000.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said the registration numbers were “somewhat disappointing” since the district opened the process in May, more than two months earlier than in years past, to give families the flexibility to get their kids registered on time.

“It was our hope that we’d have pretty much all of our kids registered by now,” Hopson said at a news briefing.

Late school registration is a chronic issue for the district, with a high rate of student mobility and many parents bringing their children to school days and even weeks after classes begin.

Hopson said the school system also is seeking to fill 108 vacant staff positions, 80 of which had opened up in the last three weeks.

The superintendent urged parents to double-check school bus routes, as many have changed since last year.

“We did some work around some of our bus routes, and we believe that we were able to be smarter about the way we route this year,” he said. “It’s going to lead to more efficiency … but it’s also going to generate some savings.”

Most of the Memphis schools operated under Tennessee’s Achievement School District also start classes on Monday.

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