Plan to ease overcrowding in north Lake County schools sparks controversy



LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - A controversial plan to bus students across Lake County to fill up classrooms in the northern part of the county could soon be underway.

Growth in Clermont is putting a lot of strain on schools, officials said.

School board member Tod Howard said Sawgrass Bay Elementary and Windy Hill Middle are nearly at capacity.

“We’re going to have to make some tough decisions on what we are going to do and how we’re going to provide services to those students,” Howard said.

Schools in the northern part of the county still have plenty of room to add more students, and one idea in the works is to bus students there, but some school officials are convinced it wouldn’t work.

“We can’t bus students for more than an hour, and to try and create a bus route that would go to the north end is very difficult because of the lakes and geography,” Howard said.

Howard also worries that living far away from school could hurt student performance and discourage students from participating in after-school activities.

“I take them to school. They don’t ride the bus, so no, I wouldn’t want to make that drive to north Lake County,” said parent Tasha Hofer.