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      Lee County buses combat first-week-of-school issues

      The wheels on the bus went round and round an hour late in Lee County on Friday after drivers had a hard time getting on the road due to traffic.

      "Of course we talk to law enforcement and they help us as best that we can but the volume of traffic, simply the number of vehicles on the road in Leesburg on the first day of school is almost beyond what they can handle, too," said Superintendent Dr. Larry Walters.

      School officials say the congestion is caused by parents who insist on taking their child to school during their first week, but add that it causes a larger issue for the students who ride the non-air-conditioned buses.

      "Normally the buses are moving but the first several days of school with the parents locking down the roads, the buses can't get out of the schools to continue to move and we have to sit there," said Transportation Director Ricky Canterbury.

      With temperatures in the 90's, many children are at risk of becoming overheated. To combat the problem, officials are passing out water bottles for the next few days to prevent further issues but say the ride would be a lot less bumpy if more students took the bus.

      "It's going to help the traffic once the parents quit bringing their children. Let us transport them, the school bus is safer than any car, matter of fact, 90-something-percent safer so let us put them on the safe buses and get them to and from," said Canterbury.

      Officials also remind parents that a student isn TMt marked tardy if they arrive late while on a bus and ask for patience and understanding as drivers perfect their routes.