Contracting bus operations in SC could be costly

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - For months on the campaign trail, Gov. Nikki Haley touted privatizing South Carolina's school bus fleet as one possibility for saving money. But some experts say the switch could end up costing more.

Haley used the idea last year as an example of how she would trim the budget as the state confronts an $830 million budget shortfall.

The governor says South Carolina's schoolchildren deserve newer buses, even if the plan doesn't save money.

South Carolina is the only U.S. state to own and maintain a statewide school bus fleet, though no state has a statewide contract for school bus service.

Government workers can't join unions, but private workers can. That could mean higher wages for the drivers if they unionize, and therefore a bigger tab for the state.

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