SC Governor McMaster clarifies bus funding veto


BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - School districts across the state of South Carolina must look for new options after Governor Henry McMaster vetoed a provision that would have funded hundreds of new buses.

Although school districts hire drivers and design routes, bus maintenance is the responsibility of the state of South Carolina, and hundreds of buses across the state are outdated and failing. More than 1,500 buses in the state are close to 30 years old.

The initial proposal would have put about $29 million into school buses and helped the state lease or purchase about 400 new buses.

The issue was that this money proposed by legislators was never available to distribute in the first place. Legislators developed a clause to the budget that would allow unused money from the state’s educational lottery to cover the costs of those buses.

“You appropriate money for the important things as best you can, and having a wish list for money to be taken from money that’s not there is not right,” Governor McMaster said.

The governor was not on board with the legislators' suggestions and he said no to about $20 million of the provision.

“The educational lottery was passed to provide for scholarships and should be used for that, period. That’s my position. The government has a tendency, once there’s a pot of money out there, everybody starts pulling money for something else, and that’s what that provision would have done, and that’s why I vetoed it,” Governor McMaster said.

The funds in the educational lottery bank were barely enough to cover the scholarships awarded this year.

Governor McMaster says student safety and transportation are very important, and the items should have been placed in an appropriation bill, instead of the way it was executed with this budget, which basically says if there’s money left over, let’s use it for this.

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