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January 06, 2011  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

South Carolina buys buses from Alabama district


COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Education (DOE) has purchased 24 used school buses from an Alabama district that replaced them with new vehicles. The new purchase marks the third time that South Carolina has bought used school buses in the past six years. 

The DOE bought 72 1992 model vehicles in 2005 and 81 more last year, all from Kentucky school districts, as SBF previously reported. Last year's purchase included 1990 to 1999 models, and agency officials said the used buses have performed well.

Although the South Carolina General Assembly approved an annual bus replacement cycle in 2007, it has not provided any funds to upgrade the state's oldest-in-the-nation bus fleet in the last two years. To bid on the Alabama buses at auction, the DOE used money it obtained from selling to scrap metal companies the skeletal remains of South Carolina buses cannibalized for replacement parts.

State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said that buying the 24 Alabama buses, which have an average age of 11 years, would allow his agency to retire 23- and 24-year-old buses. Those retired vehicles will be cannibalized for parts to service other old buses in South Carolina's fleet for which parts are expensive or hard to find.

"We're doing the best we can with the resources we have," Rex said. "This isn't the best solution, obviously, but it does allow us to retire some extremely old vehicles at no additional cost to the state. Newer buses don't break down as much, they have better safety features and emission controls, and they get better mileage."

State Transportation Director Donald Tudor said DOE staff bid on 44 buses being retired by Talladega County in Alabama. South Carolina's 24 winning bids averaged about $8,000, and mileages on the used buses range from 44,000 to 110,500.

He also said that the Alabama purchase leaves more than 1,100 buses in South Carolina's fleet that are older than 1990 models, although the DOE uses service vehicles that are more than 30 years old.

Rex has urged the General Assembly to conduct a detailed, comprehensive study of the state's overall tax structure and to develop an adequate, equitable and efficient state revenue system. He said the on-again, off-again funding to replace aging school buses is evidence of a dysfunctional process.

Tudor said the DOE would continue to monitor other states that might make used buses available for purchase.

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I live in south carolina,but i have not seen not other school buses that are from other states.I think they don't know that in a few year they going to replace the same buses that they got.The oldest bues in south carolina are 1988 blue bird that should had been retire a long time ago,my county still have about 20 of the 1998 blue bird buses.I really think that they should save money,so they can buy new school buses.Most county in south carolina replace the 1988 blue bird buses with thomas built c2 and HDX.I think that every county in south carolina should take care of there own buses.It's not safe to buy 1990 school buses when the new school buses are better for kids to ride to and from school.I saw this on the news today and i was like what the **** are they doing,i think Rex should talk to other states to see how they replace their older buses with new ones, i dont think Rex care about south carolina kids.That ride school buses.I know North Carolina do a good job with there buses so why cant South carolina

staten    |    Jan 07, 2011 05:08 AM

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