STATEWIDE (WIS) - Governor Henry McMaster last week vetoed 20+ million dollars that were to replace the state's aging school bus fleet.
He said the money should be used for scholarships because voters were promised that 17 years ago. However, a quick look at appropriations for lottery revenue on the Department of Administration's public website shows at least $23 million has gone to buy or lease school buses since 2002.
More than 1,500 buses in the Palmetto State are at least 20 years old. And just three months ago, six student athletes at White Knoll High School were severely burned when a radiator failed on a bus they were riding.
The veto has drawn backlash across the state, including from the state's superintendent of education, Molly Spearman. "I am deeply disappointed in the decision to veto this essential funding and remain committed to working with the General Assembly to override it and ensure South Carolina's students have a safe means of transportation to and from school," she said in a statement.
"There is a great deal of good in this budget," McMaster said. "But there is also a great deal which, if enacted into law, would violate the trust and confidence our citizens have placed in us.
Governor McMaster, the citizens of this state should be able to trust the school's transportation system to safely deliver children to school, to extra-curricular events and back home. This is a fundamental tenet of state government.
"And it means we must preserve South Carolina's most important assets, in this case our great natural beauty and resources, which is why I vetoed an effort to cripple the Conservation Land Bank," the governor said.
The WIS Editorial Board believes the state's most important assets are its people, its children – above anything else.
It is not the time to toy with our children's safety. We hope the General Assembly will do the right thing and reverse the governor's veto or find an immediate funding mechanism to get the school bus system modernized for the sake of the state's future leaders – leaders we hope won't put politics over safety.
That's my take, what's yours?