Lake County school district faces major overcrowding

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. —

The Lake County school district faces a major overcrowding and maintenance problem.

District officials say they need more than a quarter of a billion dollars to fix it.

Some officials say if they don't get more funding, they might have to resort to year-round school.

Worst case scenario, a school would have to be shared.

One group of students would go there the first half of the year and another group during the second half because they can't get all the students under one roof.

Officials said replacing 50-year-old schools like Clermont Elementary is what needs to happen.

Some parents Eyewitness News spoke with said they believe it's time for a tax hike if it's for their children.

District spokesman Chris Patton said the administration has a long list of schools with serious problems -- even new facilities like Sawgrass Bay Elementary, built in 2007.

A string of portable classrooms went in the following year, a 10-room addition last year and on Friday, teachers were clearing out a large storage room to make way for one more kindergarten class.

The school has a maximum capacity of 1,136 students.

There are currently 1,211.

The school board needs another $300,000 to build several new schools and properly maintain the old ones.

"These are our needs. They're real. We can show them, as I showed you today at Sawgrass Elementary. How that funding comes is up to them," Patton said.

So far, the board has resisted asking for any type of tax hike.

And back in the pick-up line at Clermont Elementary, with some parents, the very thought of paying more won't fly.

"No. I really don't want to pay more tax," said one parent.

The school board will have a joint meeting with the Lake County Commission on Monday.

Plans for more taxes for the schools could come out of that meeting.