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Vandalism halts bus service

Teri Vance
tvance@nevadaappeal.com
F.T. Norton/Nevada AppealAn employee of Les Schwab tires jacks up one of the 44 buses in the Carson City School District's fleet that had the tires flattened overnight.
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If letting the air out of tires on all of the school district’s buses was meant to be funny, school officials are not laughing.

“It really disrupted our operations,” said Richard Stokes, superintendent of the Carson City School District. “We don’t take it as a prank.”

Bus drivers arrived at the yard Tuesday morning to find the air let out of two tires on each of the district’s 44 buses.

It left the 2,400 students, who rely on buses to get to school, without transportation – first day of the year buses didn’t run, including during record snowstorms this winter.

“We were unable to roll today because of vandalism,” Stokes said.

Although there was no damage to the tires themselves, in most cases the valve stems had been depressed so hard they were inoperable, Stokes said.

To repair them, the tires had to be removed, disassembled and tubes replaced.

“It was actually a pretty big job,” Stokes said.

In some cases, parents dropped students off. But most of them didn’t make it to school.

“We had a lot of absences,” Stokes said. “We will work with parents on that. We understand it was spur-of-the-moment event. And it’s finals testing at the high school, so it was pretty bad timing. Not that it would ever be good timing.”

Buses were operational by 11 a.m., largely due to the efforts of local tire store employees who helped school district maintenance staff in repairing the tires.

“We have to say a big thank-you to our own staff who pitched in and the local Les Schwab technicians who immediately went to work assisting us,” Stokes said.

Stokes said the school district is working with the Carson City Sheriff’s Department to determine who is responsible. He said some information has been collected from surveillance video in the area and the investigation is continuing.

“We will use any means we have at our disposal to mete out justice,” Stokes said. “If it’s out of our hands, we will leave that up to local authorities. We hope that justice is done here.”