Lake County schools push commission to add sidewalks

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - The Lake County School District is digging in its heels, on sidewalks.

Officials have already given in to public pressure to bring back courtesy busing for some neighborhoods. But for others, they've been asked to add sidewalks where the walk to and from school is considered dangerous.

But district officials told Channel 9's Berndt Petersen that they shouldn't have to pay for it and want the county to foot the bill.

State law requires sidewalks if walking conditions are hazardous, and in some of the district's neighborhoods school officials believe conditions are dangerous.

Lake County's newest high school, Lake Minneola High, opened a few years back, but some told Petersen it was never actually finished.

"Due to the lack of Lake County School Board not sending out the proper notice and making the decision over the summer -- causing all this chaos," said parent Jamie Mullins. "I blame it all on the Lake County School Board."

Mullins said the system of sidewalks around the campus is incomplete. It starts and stops, sending students off the beaten path. He said it's a problem at many of the district's schools. District officials insist it's not their fault.

"We brought this up with the County Commission two years ago when this school opened," said Chis Patton of Lake County Schools.

But now the school board is through waiting. The board will ask the Lake County commission to build more sidewalks here at Lake Minneola High, and requests for sidewalks at other schools

"And if we don't act, then they'll continue to say, "School board, it's your responsibility," said Lake County school board member Rosanne Brandeburg.

But money is tight for the school board and the commission.

"More people are walking, more people are using these areas, so, the infrastructure needs to be updated," said Patton.

The County Commission will likely be addressing the issue in the next few weeks.