Lake County schools may charge parents for buses

Emergency meeting explores solutions to end of courtesy busing

Schools may charge for buses in Lake County.
Schools may charge for buses in Lake County.

TAVARES, Fla. – School leaders in Lake County voted to move forward with a fee-based program where parents will pay for bus service after they protested the end of courtesy busing for students within a two-mile radius of school.


The plan was part of discussions at Tuesday's emergency school board meeting. The board voted for parents to pay $300 a year for their child to ride the bus if they live within 2 miles of the school.

The board previously voted earlier in the summer to cut the routes, saving the district $2 million. The board then brought back the buses for the 153 students and they're hoping to find a solution for the 3,800 who are without a bus.

The change in the policy will take 30 to 35 days.

Parents have been calling for emergency action on the bus situation in Lake County since the beginning of school several weeks ago. Parents say after the school district cut busing for students within two miles of school this year, children were forced to walk dangerous routes sometimes without sidewalks or crosswalks.

After protests from parents the Lake County School Board reevaluated several walking routes to county schools and determined several did meet state standards as a hazard to students. As a result, several of the courtesy busing routes were reinstated, but hundreds of students and parents are still fighting for buses.

School board also discussed defining "hazardous walking conditions," after they agreed the state's definition is lacking.

The school district says it's evaluating five more bus routes now to see if walking in those areas would be a hazard. If the routes present a danger, according to state standards, bus routes would be restored.