Updated:LAKE COUNTY, Fla. —
The superintendent of the Lake County School District has ordered an independent investigation into the district's violation of Florida class-size laws.
State officials said they are looking into violations at six schools.
The school district has admitted to breaking the rules, and one official said the state could withhold $100,000 or more in funding because there were too many students in some classrooms.
Superintendent Susan Moxley ordered the investigation, saying she wants someone from outside the district to get to the truth about the violations.
"When errors are made in our organization, we own them," said Moxley.
Some school board members have said they believe some principals lied when they reported how many pupils they had in each classroom.
"We need to get to the bottom of it. We need to find out if it's a misinterpretation, if it's a misunderstanding. Is it an error of omission or an error where somebody knowingly knew that this was inappropriate and did it anyway?" said Moxley.
The violations came to light after a whistleblower alerted the state. The whistleblower claims when it came time to document how many children were present, some students were moved on paper only into classes that never existed.
An in-house investigation revealed that students in overcrowded classrooms were assigned to other classes that existed only on paper.
The president of the teachers union said teachers were likely pressured by principals to sign off on it when it came time to send class size reports to the state.
"We have a lot of teachers on annual contracts. If you're on an annual contract, you are pretty much at the mercy of your principal," said Stuart Klatte with the Lake County Education Association.