COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Nikki Haley, in her first State of the State address, asked lawmakers to privatize South Carolina's school bus system. Doing so, she said, would alleviate the state's budget crisis and provide newer buses for students.
The privatization of school buses was previously suggested by former governor Mark Sanford, prompting the formation of a committee to study the idea, News Channel 7 reports.
Despite these efforts, the system was never privatized. The state's budget shortfall of $829 million for 2012, however, could encourage lawmakers to move forward on this issue.
In her address, Haley said, "We must also privatize our school bus system. ... Our government just doesn't need to be in the school bus maintenance business.
"Making this change would deliver our state a check for our old buses," she continued. "It would deliver our children a new fleet of buses. It would keep our school bus drivers employed while transferring our mechanics to the private sector. And it would put the focus of our Education Department where it needs to be: teaching our kids."
As SBF reported, the South Carolina Department of Education recently purchased 24 used school buses from an Alabama district to help upgrade the state's oldest-in-the-nation bus fleet.