9 Investigates Orange County student money going to waste

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - 9 Investigates uncovered money that should be spent on Orange County students is going to waste.

The school district started a construction project that's now been forced to stop.

The city of Apopka stopped the construction of a school bus fueling station, worried it may damage the environment and possibly even harm students.

9 Investigates discovered the school district started work on the fueling station, despite objections by the city.

That construction shutdown on Park Avenue next to Apopka Memorial Middle School is costing the district thousands of dollars each day.

The district said in a statement that it is "surprised" and "disappointed" at the stop-work order, forcing crews to leave amid threats of arrest.

The district said it is meeting all state and federal requirements, but the city of Apopka strongly disagrees.

Construction equipment for the $2.2 million project is sitting idle. Each week that goes by will cost taxpayers an estimated $56,000.

"Should the district have done (a) better job working with the city to prevent this?" asked Channel 9's Lori Brown.

"I think we've done everything we can because the district wasn't required to seek their approval," Orange County School Board member Christine Moore said.

The city of Apopka disagrees, which is why it slapped a stop-work order on the property at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

"It goes against the Wekiva River basin act, that state legislators enacted several years ago," Jay Davoll, city engineer, said.

Davoll said once something gets into the water system, it is difficult to get out.

"Why would the district plan to put fuel where the state law says it can't?" Brown asked.

"There is no state law that says we can't have (a) fueling depot here," Moore said.

The school district started building the 15,000-gallon storage facility next to Apopka memorial middle school. The city said that is an exposure hazard for students.

"We've seen that throughout the country -- people going to schools and doing bad things," Davoll said.

Apopka residents WFTV talked with agreed with the stop-work order.

"I'm aware they make storage tanks that are more progressive, but I don't trust human beings to not have accidents," Apopka resident Patrick Lafferty said.

Moore said the above-ground fuel storage facility would save $1.2 million per year, which is money she said could be put into the classroom.