South Carolina governor vetoes $20.5 million earmark for new school buses

South Carolina governor vetoes $20.5 million earmark for new school buses

State education officials say they need to replace aging, unsafe vehicles.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has vetoed a $20.5 million appropriation for new school buses.

The Columbia State reports that the governor opposed the spending because it depends on the South Carolina lottery raising more funds than have been projected.

McMaster also objected to using lottery funds to acquire buses— he believes lottery proceeds should be spent solely on the scholarships the lottery was created to pay for. In the past, South Carolina lawmakers often have spent lottery dollars on education-related expenses other than the scholarships.

The state budget approved by the legislature included $28.9 million to buy or lease new school buses to replace aging, fire-prone vehicles. McMaster’s veto amounts to two-thirds of that funding.

The South Carolina Education Department says replacing aging buses is a priority because they represent a fire hazard for students. Since August 2015, 17 buses have caught fire or dangerously overheated.

With the entire $28.9 million, the state's Education Department would be able to buy 298 buses and lease another 116 new buses. But even with all of the added money, the Education Department would be operating almost 1,000 buses that are more than 20 years old.

TAGS: Legislation
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