SC receiving nearly 350 new school buses

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina schools chief Mick Zais is announcing the delivery of 342 new school buses that will replace buses up to 28 years old.

      The oldest buses in South Carolina's fleet carry students with disabilities. Some have logged more than half a million miles.

      As of August 31, the state owned 5,023 buses.

      The new arrivals will replace all models dating from 1984 through 1987, plus a few from 1988. They include lifts and spaces for wheelchairs.

      The buses were purchased{}for $82,030 each, making a total{}price tag{}of just over $28 million.{} Officials say 88 percent of the funds will come from lottery funds and the remaining{}12 percent from a combination of other fund categories.

      In 2007, legislators approved replacing the statewide fleet every 15 years by buying about 380 new buses each year. But lawmakers ignored the bus replacement law amid the economic downturn.

      South Carolina since bought used buses from other states by selling the skeletal remains of broken-down buses for scrap. Buying buses for special needs students wasn't an option at the auctions.

      CLICK HERE to see exactly which districts the new buses will go to.