Lake County to courtesy bus some students near dangerous intersection



LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - The Lake County School District has agreed to resume bus service to one neighborhood in Mount Dora after cutting courtesy busing before 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.

The announcement was upsetting to parents, especially those who live near Triangle Elementary School.

Parents were upset that their children would have had to cross U.S. 441 and Route 19, but the school determined the intersections to be dangerous, so they'll bus those four-dozen students starting Monday.

In the meantime, other parents are still fighting.

The tiny neighborhood of Cyprus Cove is just outside Leesburg, and the nearest elementary school is 2 miles down the road.

"It's unfair to the kids, really, it is," said parent Krystal Khargie. "My kids are 5 and 7. They have to get up at 6:30 in the morning so we can leave at 7 a.m. and be on time at 8 a.m.. They're going to be tired all day at school."

Khargie said the end of courtesy busing hurt a lot of folks in the community.

"Mostly mothers," said Cyprus Cove manager Ray Teske. "They don't have rides to get back and forth. The fathers take the vehicles, and they're very poor around here."

Parents across the county organized a handful of protests after the school board announcement, and parents are now meeting with attorneys.

"They haven't communicated with us what they're looking for. They need to do what they feel is necessary," said Lake County schools spokesman Chris Patton.

Patton said the district is reviewing specific complaints about dangerous crossings along the routes to the schools.

Parents are planning another round of protests for Monday before the school board meeting.

About 50 people from several communities met with an attorney and a representative from the Sheriff's Office to go over their legal options Friday night.

They also distributed a petition that they will be taking around the community to sign.

Parents said they're promising a much larger crowd at the next school board meeting.

For starters, they said they are going to try to work within the parameters of the state statute that determines whether the kids have to be picked up and dropped off.

If the parents can prove, like in the case of Triangle Elementary School, that there are dangerous intersections, the school board has to approve to pick students up and drop them off.