The fan belts on 23 buses had been partially or completely cut, said Bill Poston, spokesman for the Wake County school system. Some of the buses were in the middle of their routes when the belts failed, he said.
Mechanics were quickly dispatched to repair the broken-down buses, and spare buses also were sent out to help transport students to school. The vandalism caused about $1,500 in damage, authorities said.
Students arrived about an hour late at Fuquay-Varina High School, Fuquay-Varina Middle School, West Lake Middle School, West Lake Elementary School and Willow Springs Elementary School, according to Carol McDowell, the bus coordinator for the Fuquay-Varina area.
The school district and Fuquay-Varina police are investigating the case, which is the second incidence of vandalism to school buses in the area in recent weeks.