Four Elkhart Community Schools buses were found on fire in the parking lot of Elkhart Central on Tuesday, Sept. 9.
The fire damaged three of the four vehicles beyond use.
Officials believe the fire was intentional because the buses had last been driven five or six hours before and the engines had plenty of time to cool off.
One bus that included a wheelchair lift cost the district $58,966 at the time of its purchase and another cost $50,647. The other two damaged buses likely cost about $45,000 each.
The wheelchair-lift equipped buses were used daily for special education students to participate in community-based educational programs, as well social and volunteer opportunities.
Along with special education students, the buses were used as transportation for small group activities.
In the meantime, the district is using the larger yellow school buses to take students to activities during the school day and after school. It’s an expensive temporary solution since the yellow buses cost more to operate and require a driver with a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
On Thursday, Sept. 11, two juveniles were arrested in reference to the fire.
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