Angry parents expected at Lake Co. school board meeting after courtesy busing nixed

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Another protest was held Monday after the Lake County School District decided to end courtesy busing prior to the school year.

By cutting courtesy busing, more than 4,000 students who live within 2 miles of their schools were required to walk or be driven to school by friends or relatives.

Channel 9's Berndt Petersen said angry parents are set to speak at Monday's school board meeting, but the board doesn't show any signs of backing down.

It's been a small but persistent group of parents who have been protesting in recent weeks, and some believe they will get their way if they keep the pressure on.

On Monday, picketers lined up outside school board member Tod Howards' chiropractic office in Groveland. It's the second time a protest has been staged at his business and the fourth demonstration over the last couple of weeks.

"There's a lot of parents who can't be here who want to be here," said parent Jamie Mullins. "So I'm out here standing for them. If I won my bus back, I know we'll win everybody else's bus back. I'm not giving up until then."

Mullins' son attends Triangle Elementary School, in Mount Dora, where courtesy busing was restored on Friday due to several dangerous intersections.

"I just can't sit back and get the bus back for my children and then be a hypocrite for the other children. Their lives, you can't put a price tag on. A life is priceless. That's why I'm out here fighting," said Mullins.

The cut to courtesy busing saves the district $650,000 a year, but working parents said they can't take their children to school, and they're insisting many of the routes are far too dangerous for students to walk.