Lake County ends "courtesy" buses

Parents concerned for children safety

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County is now the latest district to end "courtesy" busing for hundreds of students, but parents say many of those schools, like Triangle Elementary, are right near busy roads that have no sidewalks.

They fear if the buses don't return, it's only a matter of time before a child gets hurt.

Caleb Mullins, 11, will have to cross railroad tracks and walk along Old US Highway 441. His mom Jamie says it's a dangerous two mile walk for any child.

"We need sidewalks out here if they're going to make the children walk. Until then, give us busing to make our children safe" she said.

The state only requires busing for students who live more than two miles away, but Lake County has, in the past, provided busing for some students who live closer, according to School Board Spokesperson Chris Patton.

However, Patton said with a $16 million budget gap this year, the district couldn't afford the extra $500,000 for courtesy busing.

"It's up to the parent to decide how is the best way for his or her kid to get to school It may be walking, it may be riding a bike, it may be car pooling," he said.

Mullins said some kids will have no choice but to walk to school and she feels the school board should be responsible for keeping children safe.

"They should have kept safety, and did away with something else-- in the office, or did away with road services or building bridges, whatever, they should have kept safety in place for these babies," she said.

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