POLAND — A month after vandals slashed tires on all 22 of Regional School Unit 16’s buses, the board of directors learned Monday that insurance will pay for the bulk of the damage.

Replacement tires cost about $13,000. Insurance will pay for about $11,000 of that.

“That was good news for the district,” Superintendent Tina Meserve said Tuesday.

The insurance company had initially said RSU 16 was responsible for a $500 deductible on each bus. That would have required the school system to pay $11,000 and insurance to cover only about $2,000.

After school leaders questioned that, Meserve said, the company “realized that was a mistake” and reversed its decision.

“So we got a much better response when we asked questions, ” Meserve said.

Vandals slashed the tires early on May 16. Surveillance video showed two white males using their shirts to conceal their faces. Some buses had only one tire slashed, while others saw damage to multiple tires. 

The vandalism forced the Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls school system to close school for the day while two crews of mechanics scrambled to replace the tires.

A day later, a local couple offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the vandals.

No one has been arrested and it remains an open case, Meserve said. 

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Bus mechanics Rob Sawyer, left, and his son Tyler Sawyer change the front tires on school bus No. 13 at the RSU 16 bus garage in Poland last month. Vandals slashed tires on all 22 of the school system’s buses. Insurance will pay about $11,000 of the $13,000 worth of damage. (Sun Journal file photo)

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