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Wapakoneta City Schools were delayed two hours this morning after a large percentage of the district’s buses had their tires punctured.
Fifteen buses were able to continue their regular routes on a normal 2-hour delay schedule, while parents of students on other buses were asked to bring their children to school if possible in the morning. All buses were expected to return to their normal routes by the afternoon. Children who did not have a way to school were to be excused.
“We’re going to go to school,” Superintendent Keith Horner said this morning as the first buses began to leave the lot a little after 8 a.m.
Horner said the district runs approximately 28 routes with 33 buses on its fleet, so a majority of the buses were affected by the vandalism.
Wapakoneta Police Chief Russ Hunlock said 30 tires on 24 buses were damaged. The damage was reported at 5:58 a.m. by a bus mechanic. The first bus typically leaves the lot each morning a little after 6 a.m.
“The tires were punctured by some type of object, we’re not sure what at this time,” Hunlock said.
He said there are no suspects at this time, but that the bus lot was locked.
“They cut through the fence to
gain entry,” Hunlock said.
Horner said they decided to continue with school as a good portion of the district’s students are transported by some other means.
“We’re here to have school,” Horner said. “We don’t want to reward someone for poor behavior.
“We need a little help this morning but we should be back together this afternoon,” he said.
The district had some tires on hand to repair those that were damaged and borrowed others from St. Marys City Schools. Local businesses, including Miller Brothers Tire Service and RRR Tire Service, also were on hand helping get the tires changed.
“We appreciate how responsive they were,” Horner said, sharing they appreciated everyone’s patience and understanding.
He estimated damage at between $10,000 and $15,000 from the vandalism.
“It’s enough to get someone in a whole lot of trouble,” the superintendent said.
He said they do not have a more specific time frame at this point as to when the damage occurred, other than it happened overnight Thursday, into early Friday morning.
“We are looking at security footage and hope we have someone on tape,” Horner said.
Anyone with any information on the vandalism of buses should call the police at 419-738-8802 or the district at 419-739-2900.