South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman responded to Governor Henry McMaster's budget veto of $20.5 million for new school buses in South Carolina Monday.

“By vetoing funding for the purchase of new school buses, the Governor is putting the safety of our students at risk," said Superintendent Spearman in a statement released Monday afternoon.

McMaster vetoed the funding allocation on Monday, saying lawmakers should not have used money from the lottery to buy or lease them. The $20.5 million in funding vetoed was part of an overall allocation of $28.9 million for new school bus leases and purchases for approximately 414 new school buses.

"Our school bus fleet incorporates more than 1500 buses that are over 20 years old and not only are these old buses twice as expensive to operate and maintain, but they are also experiencing structural and mechanical issues," Spearman said, citing the following bus breakdown numbers.

SC School Bus Breakdowns By Year*

Year No. of Route Buses

1988 171

1990 141

1991 15

1992 58

1993 5

1994 27

1995 1,103

1996 76

1997 3

1999 23

2000 43

2001 181

2002 133

2003 193

2004 34

2005 48

2006 36

2007 701

2008 521

2010 2

2011 2

2013 342

2015 539

2016 431

2017 258

* SOURCE: SC Department of Education

"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,” said Spearman.

RELATED:

2016 School Bus Report (SCDOE)

$20 Million for Bus Funding Vetoed by Governor

Governor McMaster's Statement on Budget Vetoes:

{"author_name":"Henry McMaster","author_url":"https://www.facebook.com/HenryMcMaster/","provider_url":"https://www.facebook.com","provider_name":"Facebook","success":true,"height":281,"html":"&#lt;div id=\"fb-root\"&#gt;&#lt;/div&#gt;\n&#lt;script&#gt;(function(d, s, id) {\n var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];\n if (d.getElementById(id)) return;\n js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;\n js.src = \"//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3\";\n fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);\n}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));&#lt;/script&#gt;&#lt;div class=\"fb-video\" data-href=\"https://www.facebook.com/HenryMcMaster/videos/10155449275295452/\"&#gt;&#lt;blockquote cite=\"https://www.facebook.com/HenryMcMaster/videos/10155449275295452/\" class=\"fb-xfbml-parse-ignore\"&#gt;&#lt;a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/HenryMcMaster/videos/10155449275295452/\"&#gt;&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;p&#gt;Today, more South Carolinians are working than ever before. Since January, we’ve announced nearly 5,000 jobs and over a billion dollars in capital investment. We are on the edge of unprecedented prosperity, heading toward new heights in job creation and economic growth. The future is bright in South Carolina.\n \nAnd many things in this new budget will help keep it bright. New money addresses critical needs like K-12 education, protecting vulnerable children, public safety, and economic development. And I support that.\n \nBut in the same year that this General Assembly passed the largest tax increase in history, there are items in this budget I just can't support.\n \nIf the government is going to ask the taxpayers to contribute more of their hard-earned dollars, we need more oversight and discipline in government spending, not less.\n \nThis means we must be transparent with the citizens of our state, both before and after we ask for their money, which is why I vetoed a “wish list” of future projects to be funded by the lottery. The lottery money should be used only for scholarships for our young people – because that’s what voters were promised seventeen years ago.\n \nIt means we must say “NO” when lawmakers include millions of dollars of unidentifiable “pork” in with legitimate projects. This is why I vetoed items vaguely called “Medical Contracts” and “Water Quality,\" so ambiguous that even our agency directors don’t know how all that money would be spent.\n \nAnd 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.\n \nThere is a great deal of good in this budget. But there is also a great deal which, if enacted into law, would violate the trust and confidence our citizens have placed in us. I urge the men and women of the General Assembly to thoughtfully consider each of my vetoes and sustain them on behalf of the people of this great state. Thank you.\n\nRead the governor's entire veto letter here: https://goo.gl/88WxZr&#lt;/p&#gt;Posted by &#lt;a href=\"https://www.facebook.com/HenryMcMaster/\"&#gt;Henry McMaster&#lt;/a&#gt; on Monday, June 12, 2017&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;&#lt;/div&#gt;","type":"video","version":"1.0","url":"https://www.facebook.com/HenryMcMaster/videos/10155449275295452/","width":500}