COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - New information from the South Carolina Department of Education shows more than a third of the school buses on local roads are at least 21 years old.
According to a November report from the DOE, there were more than 3,000 buses in the state that are at least 15 years old. A new survey of the fleet done in February shows that number was down to 2,123, with 278 of those in Horry, Marion, Florence, Darlington, Dillon and Marlboro Counties.
The counties have 663 school buses in total.
There are newer buses in the area, 154 were manufactured in 2012 or earlier.
Greenville County Schools is the only district with more buses than Horry County Schools. 349 to 319, but HCS has 21 more buses than GCS that are at least 21-years-old.
Marlboro County School District has the newest bus fleet in the state, the average manufacture year is 2008. Of the 32 buses in the district, 23 or ten-years-old or newer.
The data shows the Fort Mill School District has the oldest fleet by percentage, with 28 of its 54 buses at 21-years or older.
In an email, a DOE spokesman said: "New buses are being delivered everyday so the numbers are constantly changing. We are also awaiting the General Assembly budget conference committee decisions on how much funding will be allocated for new bus purchases. The House and Senate versions differ by about $20 million, and neither version gives enough funding to cover the $72.3 million needed to replace aging buses that are prone to mechanical and other issues."
Despite the fact that the session is over, lawmakers will return to Columbia next week to work on the state's budget.
WMBF News requested the data after a Raycom News Network investigation found a hidden danger could be lurking on thousands of school buses across South Carolina.
Heater hoses on Thomas rear-engine school buses have burst, spraying hot antifreeze into school buses.
Thomas Built Buses issued a recall for the problem last summer for school bus model years 2014 to 2017.