Governor Henry McMaster on Friday vetoed a bill to consolidate public school districts in Orangeburg County, saying the bill is unconstitutional as written.

The bill, S. 662, would have combined all three of the districts, created a nine-person school board, and established a 13-person transition team to help the new district through the changes.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, McMaster commends the Orangeburg County delegation for trying to address their local school issues, but says he "cannot sign a bill with such clear-cut constitutional violations."

In order to coordinate the consolidation of the three districts into one, S. 622 creates a transition committee, which is charged with preparing a budget for submission and approval by the legislative delegation. McMaster says "our constitutional separation of powers prohibits local legislative delegations from retaining budgetary control," citing Gould v. Barton, 256 S.C. 175, 201-02, 181 S.E. 2d 662, 674 (1971).

"S.622, like other bills I have vetoed this session, attempts to vest the Legislative Delegation with authority to both initiate and execute special legislation, in violation of Article I, Section 8 of the South Carolina Constitution," McMaster said.

McMaster said that while he is committed to the education of South Carolina's children, "we must find new and innovative solutions to address struggling schools" to remain competitive.