Governor Henry McMaster’s veto of $20.5 million from the state budget that would have gone to buy new school buses is irritating some across the state.
South Carolina has a very old school bus fleet. More than 1500 buses are over 20 years old. Governor McMaster said he vetoed the $20.5 million of bus funding because the money came from lottery sales, and that money was promised to scholarships for college students.
Walter Potter operates a vegetable stand in Moncks Corner. “I think it’s kind of foolish to do that and take all the lottery money they ain’t doing nothing with.”
$17 million of the dollars would come from excess lottery ticket sales, and another $3 million from unclaimed prize money. That money would have been redirected to replace 414 aging buses.
State education superintendent Molly Spearman says the veto puts “the safety of our students at risk.”
Potter agrees. “I’ve got grandkids in the school with the buses and I’ve got great grandkids in school with the buses.”
Several school bus fires have already happened across the state. Walter says he believes McMaster made the wrong decision. “He should give the money to the bus people. That’s what he should do. Give the money to the state to replace these buses that ain’t no good.”
Lawmakers put $28.9 in the budget. That would cover purchase or lease costs for around 414 new buses.
The governor’s staff says if state lawmakers wanted to provide buses they should have used budget money that’s definitely there.
The Berkeley County School District sent us a statement on the veto. “We are discouraged by Governor McMaster’s veto regarding funding for new school buses. We remain hopeful that the General Assembly will override the veto. This one-time lottery funding availability would help replace over 400 buses statewide that are more than 20-years old. Despite this setback for the SDOE, we here in BCSD continue to be committed to providing the safest and most efficient transportation for our students.”
You can read the governor’s statement on the vetoes at the link below.