Police are examining CCTV footage that may have captured vandals attacking school buses.
Early estimates suggest it could cost in the region of £20,000 to repair the scores of windows smashed in eight vehicles parked at premises belonging to the North Eastern Education and Library Board in Antrim on Sunday.
Such is the extent of the damage that the buses, which service schools including special education schools, have been temporarily taken off the road and an alternative means of transport found for dozens of children.
A number of windows in the NEELB main building at Lough Road were also smashed in what the police have described as a “callous attack”.
“Many people will be badly affected by this attack,” a PSNI spokesman said. “Not only the young people who rely on the resources vandalised, but also the large number of people who earn a living as part of the local education board.
“An invaluable service has been attacked by criminals and police would appeal to anyone who noticed any unusual activity in the area or who has any information to contact police.”
The criminal damage was reported just before midnight on Sunday.
DUP MLA Pam Lewis said the repair bill was additional expenditure that the education board could ill afford.
“It is difficult to understand the mentality of those that would carry out such a shameful attack,” she said. “Those involved in this rampage of destruction need to be caught and made to pay for what they have done..”
Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan said: “It really is hard to fathom what goes on in the minds of the type of people who would get pleasure out of smashing 60 widows and putting school buses out of commission.
“In addition to the financial cost of this attack, particularly in the current economic climate, one must also consider the inconvenience to staff and to pupil.”
Meanwhile, SDLP councillor Grainne Teggart said: “This act of wanton destruction is totally disgraceful and will directly impact upon transport provision for children in the greater Antrim area.
“Money will now have to be spent by the Education and Library Board to repair these vehicles meaning funds may have to be taken out of already constrained budgets, detrimentally impacting upon vital children’s services.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000.