Lake Co. schools approve fee-based busing plan

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TAVARES, Fla. —

Lake County School Board members voted unanimously on Monday to approve fee-based busing.

Channel 9's Marisa Mendelson spoke with a parent who said she will be happy to pay $2 a day for her son's transportation. She said it's her only choice.

"In his case, he has asthma, and that's almost 4 miles a day, uphill, downhill on a bicycle. You have got to consider that," said parent Cyndi Barber.

Barber's son is one of the Lake County students who recently stopped getting bus rides to school because of district budget cuts.

In recent months, controversy over school bus routes led to protests by parents who were upset the school board voted this summer to eliminate what's called, courtesy busing, which means the district stopped picking up roughly 4,000 students who live within two miles of their schools.

"We feel it's going to be a tragedy. Kids going to be hit," said one concerned parent. "Kids don't have any sense of direction (and are) going to take chances running across the highway."

Some parents got their way and the district reinstated a few routes where there were dangerous walking conditions for the children.

Barber said she went to Monday's school board meeting with one mission: To try to find her son transportation to school.

"I would like an option. Fees involved, paying $2 per ride, if that's the only option, then I'm for it," said Barber.

At Monday's meeting, the district voted to have parents, like Barber, pay $2 a day for bus transportation to school.

Even though Barber will now have to pay around $330 a year for her son's bus rides, she said she's glad her son will have a safe way to get to school.

"I'm thrilled because I went from no options to one. So, I'll just come up with the fees," said Barber.