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Vandals also mess up LO schools

For school administrators in Lake Oswego, summertime typically means taking time for a much-needed vacation and preparing for the upcoming year.

Unfortunately, it also includes setting aside time to deal with -and clean up - the work of unwanted vandals.

This summer, administrators continue to tackle what Superintendent Bill Korach calls 'nuisance vandalism,' a problem that typically occurs after dark, while schools are out of session.

Since early June, officials have reported paintball damage at Waluga Junior High School and River Grove, Bryant and Palisades elementary schools; broken windows at Forest Hills Elementary School; broken light fixtures and planting pots at Uplands Elementary School; broken vending machines at Lake Oswego Junior High School; and spray paint on the artificial turf field at Lakeridge High School.

'We're not talking about monumental stuff here,' Korach said, adding, 'I think we're experiencing a lot more of it than we're used to right now.'

Year after year, spring and summer breaks prove the most popular times vandals leave their mark on schools.

During the school year, custodians and other night crewmembers occupy the schools in the evening.

In the summertime, principals and teachers come and go but don't necessarily keep the school attended into the late evening hours, leaving a larger timeframe for vandalism.

Korach is confident that police will catch the perpetrators. The district recently decided to press charges for trespass for juveniles found on the roof of Forest Hills Elementary School.

'These are just young people out for an extended period of time without enough to do,' he said.

Each building is equipped with an alarm system, and police officers patrol the schools more frequently during the summer, he said.

Replacement of windows and clean-up supplies comes from the district's maintenance budget. Paying maintenance workers to do the clean-up thoroughly and efficiently is the most significant expense, Korach said.

'We try to get after it right away. You don't want it sitting around for any length of time,' he said.