Politics & Government

Legislature overturns Sanford on Fairfield schools

The Senate on Thursday overrode two gubernatorial vetoes dealing with the Fairfield County School Board.

On a 1-0 vote, the Senate defeated Gov. Mark Sanford's veto of a pair of House bills - one that strips the local Fairfield County school board of its financial authority and one that adds two appointed members to the existing seven-member board.

The House overrode the two vetoes earlier in the week.

Rep. Boyd Brown, D-Fairfield, and Sen. Creighton Coleman, D-Fairfield, got the bills passed through the General Assembly. But Sanford vetoed them both, citing laws that prevent the General Assembly from usurping the authority of local governments.

The NAACP said it plans to challenge the law in court, arguing the General Assembly is reversing the will of local voters by stripping the board of its financial authority and remaking the board.

Brown has said the measures are necessary to counter a four-member majority on the board that he says blocks reforms in a district that is struggling both financially and academically. The two lawmakers will now appoint a board to take control of the district's finances.

The S.C. School Boards Association has opposed the bill, arguing lawmakers are violating laws that give locally elected boards the authority to make financial decisions.

- Roddie Burris