Buses are rolling again in the Grain Valley School District thanks to some hard work and neighborly help.


The school year didn’t start as planned after bus drivers discovered vandals had attacked half the district’s fleet before the first day of school on Aug. 17. When bus drivers tried to start their engines that morning, they would not turn over. The culprit – sugar. Bags of sugar and Splenda had been poured into the gas tanks of buses in the south portion of the fleet’s parking area. Twenty-three of the district’s 46 buses were affected.

Buses are rolling again in the Grain Valley School District thanks to some hard work and neighborly help.


The school year didn’t start as planned after bus drivers discovered vandals had attacked half the district’s fleet before the first day of school on Aug. 17. When bus drivers tried to start their engines that morning, they would not turn over. The culprit – sugar. Bags of sugar and Splenda had been poured into the gas tanks of buses in the south portion of the fleet’s parking area. Twenty-three of the district’s 46 buses were affected.


While the problem disrupted bus service on the first day of school, routes resumed the following day with help from three of Grain Valley’s neighbor districts – Blue Springs, Independence and Lee’s Summit. Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit sent mechanics to help fix the 23 buses while Independence loaned Grain Valley buses.


Assistant superintendent Marc Snow said the help was “greatly appreciated.”


“The loaners from ISD were a true blessing to Grain Valley,” he said. “We cannot express how much we appreciate their support to us. We also appreciate the support given in the form of mechanics from Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs.”


Snow said all of the buses have now been fixed and are back in service. He said it appears that none of the sugar made it into the engines, which saved the school district from fixing an even more costly problem.


“We will need to keep an eye on them and likely replace some more fuel filters,” he said. “The sugar was sucked out with a modified shop vac attachment. Most of the sugar appeared to be stuck in the zigzag between the tank and the opening. An additive was added to the fuel to burn off any sugar that may have made it into the tanks.”


The Grain Valley Police Department is continuing its investigation into the vandalism. A $1,000 reward is being offered to anyone that has information that leads to an arrest. Those with information can call WeTip at 800-782-7462.