Parents discuss courtesy busing at Mount Dora city council meeting

By Amaka Ubaka, Reporter, aubaka@wkmg.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:44:38 AM EST
Updated On: Aug 21 2013 11:36:13 AM EDT

Parents are outraged that their kids are now having to walk to school along some very dangerous streets and now city leaders are trying to figure how they can help them.

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. -

Parents are outraged that their kids are now having to walk to school along some very dangerous streets and now city leaders are trying to figure how they can help them.

Kristen Higley said Monday was the first and last time he would walk her four children along Old 441 near Eudora Road to get to Triangle Elementary.

"When we walked I felt it was dangerous," said Higley. "I won't do it again, I'd rather them stay at home."

Higley and other parents shared their frustrations about the end of courtesy busing for students with Mt. Dora's city council. Jaimie Mullins said she walked to Triangle Elementary on Tuesday morning.

"Here was a woman driving and texting on her phone. She went to swerve and hit me and my son," said Mullins.

Since cutting busing for students that live within a two-mile radius to save money, hundreds of students are left having to walk to school crossing roads without sidewalks or crosswalks.

Mt. Dora Mayor Bob Thielhelm said he found out about the county's plans to eliminate courtesy busing in July.

"Essentially it was dumped in our laps," Thielhelm said. "What bothers me is whoever told those parents that it was the city's responsibility to deal with this did a disservice."

LakeXpress, the county's transportation service, is awaiting approval to offer a discount to children that have to walk to school, but for Kristen Higley, it's just not enough.

"Lake County School Board could bring school buses back and they should, because it's for our children, for their safety, for their lives," said Higley.

Parents told Local 6 they have organized a meeting in Tavares Friday night at the YMCA to address the safety issues and have invited law enforcement to attend.

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