Bill calls for improvement of hazardous walkways near schools - FOX 35 News Orlando

Bill would require improvement of hazardous walkways near schools

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The busing controversy that kicked off the school year in Lake County was the impetus for a bill filed this week in the Florida Legislature.

House Bill 1121 would require school boards, state, and local governments to work cooperatively to identify and correct hazardous walking conditions within two miles of an elementary school.

Metz said he filed the bill after finding the existing statute deficient in several ways.

"The existing statute does not provide sufficient detail as to what constitutes a hazardous walking condition, nor does it provide a definitive process for correction conditions identified as hazardous," Metz explained.

"The goal of the bill is to provide more clarification about what is hazardous, provide more direction about what should be done to identify conditions as hazardous and then[outline]  the process for getting them corrected within a set time frame," Metz said.  

If the bill passes a city our county would have up to five years to correct the hazardous conditions.  

While hazardous walking conditions exist, state funding would be provided to school districts to transport affected students.

If the local government takes longer to correct the condition than outlined by the law, that local government entity must reimburse the school district for the actual cost of transporting the affected students.

In 2013, Lake County opted to stop courtesy busing students who lived within 2 miles of their school in order to save money, upsetting parents who considered their children's new routes too dangerous to walk.

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