• Lake school board to vote on courtesy busing issues


    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Parents and school officials in Lake County are meeting Monday night in hopes of reaching a decision about the county's busing controversy.

    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 2 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.

    Now, school board members are considering two other policy changes related to courtesy busing.

    If approved Monday, the first would be fee-based transportation in which parents who live close to schools could pay $2 a day to put their children on a bus if there's space on a nearby route.

    The second policy change would be guidelines for board members to vote on other exceptions in the future, like the dangerous walking conditions.

    If approved, the district still has a lot of work ahead, officials said, particularly, trying to figure out how to collect the money.

    "This system hasn't been fully flushed out or created. We're waiting for the school board final approval," said school spokesman Chris Patton.

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