Wi-Fi coming to a school bus near you?

PROSSER, Wash. -- It's not just a school bus -- it's a spot to check email and do homework. Prosser is one of a few districts in Eastern Washington with wi-fi access on a school bus. Administrators tell us it's changed the look a of a typical school ride.

Prosser is part of a pilot program with Verizon. It's free for the district. Verizon added the wi-fi router to one Prosser bus. It allows students to access the web while riding to and from school.

But it's not just browsing the internet. The district has found students are making use of the access to get their homework done while still on the bus.

"The students leave the school buildings, the class rooms on a daily basis and need ways to access that content and this is just another method," says Brenda Graham, the Technology Supervisor for Prosser School District.

And while the kids are busy learning, they're not busy causing trouble.
It frees up drivers to concentrate on the road, instead of rowdy students.

"They can do homework and research if they're on a three-trip or a four hour trip to Seattle or Spokane," says William Petersen. He oversees transportation for Prosser Schools. He also drives buses.
It's no surprise the wi-fi bus is the most coveted.

"Teachers and coaches are wanting the wi-fi bus because they have activities for the kids to do," William added.

ESD 123 wants to outfit as many as 40 buses with the routers by next year. Each costs 600 dollars. But a large order would probably mean discounts. Administrator Jack Morris says the price isn't a sticking point when you take the students' education into account:

"We're looking at getting it down, to where it's almost not worthy of consideration considering the value of the project," he says.

Maybe now those students who drag their feet on the way to the bus stop will be running--smart phone in hand.

The school districts that are part of the test program have all said they'd like to expand access to more buses. The hope is to make a bulk purchase to lower costs.