If state lawmakers decide to divest themselves of the state’s school bus system, they must do so in a manner that doesn’t place an unfunded mandate on school districts.
South Carolina is unlike other states in that the state owns and operates the school bus fleet. Gov. Nikki Haley and some lawmakers have been pushing to change that. They want to create a system that allows school districts to operate the buses on their own or hire private companies to operate their buses.
The state House was too divided on the issue to pass the proposal. Instead, lawmakers voted to form a study committee to look into the issue.
There is much room for improvement here.
The General Assembly rarely approves money to buy new school buses, so the average age of a bus in the fleet is about 14 years. The state often maximizes the money it does have by buying used buses from school operations in other states.