Lake Co. School Board approves independent class-size investigation

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - School board members in Lake County gave the green light Monday evening for an outside investigation into class size violations.

Last month, Channel 9 reported about the internal review that found too many students were crowded into some classrooms and that several school principals tried to hide the fact.

The new investigation won't just be looking at whether principals were involved -- it'll be looking at everyone. The audit will cost roughly $20,000 and will begin right away, officials said.

Six principals are at the center of the investigation, accused of pressuring teachers into hiding students in classrooms that were over state class size limits.

A complaint filed in October by a Lake Minneola High School teacher claims school leaders removed students from her roster during the week they were being counted even though they were sitting right in front of her.

She said she was forced to be part of the plan.

"When we have documentation that is falsified, I can't get past that," said District 3 Vice Chairman Tod Howard. "It's not acceptable to me under any circumstances."

Those principals were set to be disciplined last month after the district did its review, but instead, leaders decided to move forward with an outside firm to do a second investigation.

The superintendent claims the district office had nothing to do with the scheme.

The violations have already cost the school district $100,000 in state fines.