Scottsdale school buses will be running normally Monday despite the work of vandals who smashed the windows on 79 vehicles early Friday, causing $150,000 in damage and leaving 4,000 students without transportation to class.
Security guards will start patrolling the Apache Bus Site, 1201 N. 85th Place, and the district’s other two bus yards, when other employees aren’t at the sites, said Superintendent John Baracy.
This is the second time Scottsdale buses have been vandalized since April, when windows on 70 buses in the same lot were smashed. That incident had little effect on students since the damage was discovered on a weekend, but Friday’s vandalism left school officials scrambling to get students to school.
Bus drivers were surprised by news of the damage when they got to work. They were asked to drive their regular routes in their cars to explain what happened and pass out fliers with details.
“It takes a lot of nerve to do that, and to do it twice,” said bus driver Barbara Alberts. “It’s hurting the children who don’t have any other way of getting to school.”
District officials estimated 170 students stayed home because they weren’t able to get This is the second time Scottsdale buses have been vandalized since April, when windows on 70 buses in the same lot were smashed. rides to school.
About 60 of those were from Tavan Elementary School, said principal Margaret Serna.
She and several other school employees drove around neighborhoods until about 8:30 a.m., making sure there weren’t students still waiting for buses.
The entire community helped out, Serna said.
“I had parents coming in and asking, ‘Where do you want me to be?’” she said. “When it comes to kids, everyone’s supportive.”
Sylvia Williams parked in front of Tonalea Elementary School about 15 minutes earlier than usual to pick up her kindergarten student Friday afternoon, hoping to beat the crowds.
Williams said a lot of students in her son’s class take the bus. She felt sorry for those young students having to deal with such a disruption when they’re already trying to adjust to school.
“I’m shocked it happened again,” she said.
Sgt. Mark Clark, a Scottsdale police spokesman, said police were called about 1:30 a.m. by employees of a business next to the school facility.
Clark said the employees heard glass breaking and saw two people breaking windshields.
The vandals were gone when police arrived.
Police are reviewing surveillance video, but hadn’t identified suspects Friday.
Two hammers that police suspect were used to smash the windows were recovered in a nearby trash bin, police said.
Police said they consider Friday’s incident connected to the damage that occurred in April. The April attack is still being investigated and no suspects have been identified in that case.
Three video surveillance cameras were installed after the earlier incident, said district transportation director Dan Shearer.
A security guard also patrolled the lot for two weeks after April’s incident. The guard wasn’t kept there because the district believed it had taken appropriate security measures and drivers are at the yard most hours of the day, Baracy said.
“This is a very secure area in a residential neighborhood,” he said. “These individuals are apparently bent on continuing this damage. We believe that no matter what we would have done there, they would have found a way to skirt it until they’re caught.”
Other than the cameras, the bus yard is protected by 9-foot block walls on three sides and a chain-link fence on the remaining side. Baracy said there were footprints indicating someone had climbed the block wall to get in.
All but 19 buses were scheduled to be fixed Friday, Baracy said. Windows for the remaining buses were coming in from Las Vegas to be installed over the weekend.
The site is one of three bus yards for the district. It’s the base for 80 of the school district’s 179 buses.
There were 237 routes affected by the vandalism, including all routes at 19 schools.
Most of those routes were in the southern part of the district, said transportation operations manager Connie Burkhart. But a few routes at northern schools were impacted by the damage.
Bus routes affected
Sierra Vista Academy