The community minibus was taken from Delves Junior School in Walsall last week.
The vehicle was later found but only after it had been stripped of its engine, gearbox, clutch, brakes, catalytic converter, drive shaft, manifold, exhaust, wheels, tyres, wheel arches, mirrors and windscreen wipers.
CCTV footage of the incident shows crooks using an angle grinder to shear through a gate and padlock to access the school grounds
Once it was stripped, the bus was dumped three miles away in West Bromwich, leaving 600 children as well as numerous adult users are deprived of a vital facility.
The minibus has been in service since March 2014 and has served three primary schools, two Scout groups, two Townswomen's Guilds and other users.
At the time of its theft the minibus was in good condition and had covered less then 20,000 miles - so money is now being sought to restore rather than replace the vehicle.
It has already been modified to fit wheelchair equipment and insurance is only expected to partially fund the repairs, with cash also needed for tax, MOT, servicing and fuel.
The fundraiser for the repairs is hoping to raise £30,000 and can be found at gofundme.com/f/help-restore-our-community-minibus-after-theft.
West Midlands Police is investigating but so far nobody has been arrested.
A spokesman for the force said: "We're investigating after a mini bus was stolen from Delves Junior School, Bell Lane, Walsall, at about 9.40pm on Thursday.
"The vehicle was recovered in the Hill Top area of West Bromwich on Friday and will be forensically examined - CCTV footage is also being reviewed.
"Anyone with any information can contact us, via Live Chat, at west-midlands.police.uk, quoting investigation number 20/1800968/21, or call 101.
"Alternatively to pass on information while remaining 100 per cent anonymous, speak to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."