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Broken windows, graffiti costing school district

Maintenance supervisor calls on community for help
By: Jenifer Gee Journal News Editor
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Broken windows are causing some pain to the Auburn Union School District. A recent spat of vandalism at Alta Vista Education Center, formerly Alta Vista School, over the weekend is adding to maintenance staff’s frustration. The weekend trashing is one of several incidents this year that have forced the district to spend upward of $5,000 to fix damages. “With the district where we are financially, this is really the worst time for this kind of activity to keep happening,” said Stan Brandl, maintenance and operations supervisor for the district. “Where are we going to find to money to keep doing (repairs)?” Over the weekend, vandals broke several windows on the now-empty elementary school campus, located on Oak Street in Auburn. Throughout the year, staff has also had to repair other broken windows and clean up graffiti. Also, earlier this year, vandals broke into a classroom and stole a SMART Board and a projector in a classroom. Brandl said he hopes the community will help the district by reporting any suspicious behavior they see in the area. Brandl said the school has a WeTip account. Community members can call (800) 78-CRIME to anonymously report any signs of vandalism or crime. Information that leads to a conviction can be rewarded up to $10,000, Brandl said. Across the street from the elementary campus, neighbors say they try to keep an extra ear and eye on the school property. Cherry Dulaney, who has lived in her Auburn home for 21 years, said she constantly calls the Auburn Police Department when she sees kids or teens loitering in the area or when she catches them skateboarding on the roof of the school building. She said other neighbors do the same. “We’ve kind of got this ‘neighborhood watch’ going,” Dulaney said. Auburn Police Capt. John Ruffcorn said the department currently does not have any leads regarding suspects in the case. He said residents should immediately call police if they see destructive behavior. “They should not assume that somebody else reported it,” Ruffcorn said. Brandl said each incident is reported to police, who come to the school and fill out a report. Several of the broken windows have been fixed while others are boarded up until replacement glass is ordered. Brandl said he wants to put an end to what feels like a constant cycle of discovering vandalism and reporting it to the police. “We’re just determined to get this solved,” Brandl said. “I need the community’s help in doing so.” Reach Jenifer Gee at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com.