The Mesa County Valley School District 51 is dealing with an unexpected expense this summer and it's coming at the hands of vandals.
The district has been battling its budget over the last year and now this summer's spate of vandalism is not helping matters. The costs are starting to add up.
"There has been an increase in vandalism to schools all across the district," explains Tim Leon, Director of Safety and Transportation. "The school district does have insurance to help offset these costs, but again, we have to pay for that insurance and there's always the possibility of insurance rates going up."
Recently Pear Park Elementary was targeted. Burglars broke in through the skylight and damaged property within.
"That single incident was a five thousand dollar incident. Then, another incident at the same school cost us approximately fifteen hundred dollars to repair a window," Leon added.
21-year-old Jordan Jeffery Mackey was arrested in connection with the burglary at Pear Park. But that's just one incident of many across the district.
At Chipeta Elementary School, vandals were able to climb up onto the roof and damage a sign above the main entrance.
The district is working with authorities to find ways to prevent further damage but in the mean time, they are spending money and resources to repair incidents like broken windows and playground equipment, graffiti and even unauthorized vehicle damage to grassy areas.
"It does cost all of us when these types of things happen because we all pay taxes," Leon said. "If you see something suspicious happening at the school whether it's vandalism or drug activity, please contact the police department."
Officials say there is no way to connect the different incidents but it is summertime and hot out, which keeps people on the streets until later at night. Again, they are asking for people to be on the lookout and report any suspicious activity to authorities.