Lake County School District avoids huge fine for class-size violations

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - The Lake County School District broke the rules on class size, but Channel 9's Berndt Petersen has learned that they will not be forced to pay an expensive fine.

The district no longer faces a $1 million fine for violating the state's class-size law.

"Obviously, with the fiscal condition the district has been in, we're very pleased we don't have a hefty fine to pay," said Lake County School Board Member Tod Howard.

Howard said an independent investigation into how the class-size violations happened needs to continue.

"We need to make sure that the public trusts what we do. And we have a question about public trust right now," said Howard.

The question is whether any administrators in six county schools where the rules were broken did it on purpose.

"We need to know if this was procedural or if this was intentional," School Board member Bill Mathias told Petersen.

Vance Jochim, of the watchdog group Lake County Fiscal Rangers, said if the violations were intentional, there should be punishments handed out.

"If it was intentional and they knew it, it should be more than a slap on the wrist. It should probably be a half-a-month off without pay," said Jochim.

Officials said the independent investigation into who may have been responsible for the rule breaking will be completed in a few months.