South Carolina school districts will continue to use hundreds of two-decade-old buses to transport students to school when school starts this fall, including a model which has caught fire in the past.
The State newspaper reports there are more than 1,000 of the buses statewide that are a fire hazard. 17 have caught fire since August 2015.
The state legislature approved $20.5 million in surplus lottery funds to replace about 250 of those buses. But Gov. Henry McMaster vetoed the money, arguing it should go towards college scholarships instead.
Lawmakers have not indicated that they will return to Columbia to deal with McMaster’s vetoes. Instead, they could wait until the new legislative year begins in January to consider budget vetoes. House Majority Leader Gary Simrill said last month the Department of Education would not know how many lottery funds are potentially available until the end of the budget year, anyway. But the agency said some of its current bus maintenance money was re-routed to operations in poor rural districts.
According to the newspaper, the South Carolina Department of Education has spent $2 million out of its budget to buy some new buses. The department of education said that after all the new buses on order are delivered there will still about 900 of the fire hazard buses on the road.
South Carolina is the only state in the country which owns and operates its own statewide school bus fleet.