Archbold is looking to become the first school district in the area to offer Wi-Fi on school buses.
Superintendent Aaron Rex said that W-Fi would give students more opportunities to complete their school work.
“We see the buses becoming an extension of the classroom,” said Rex. “We are a 1-1 school so kids can use their devices to finish their work on the bus ride home or on a long trip to sporting events. Kids can get home from games during the week as late as 10:15 and that doesn’t leave much time to do homework. With kids busy doing work it also makes the ride quieter and you have less discipline for a driver.”
The district first started discussing Wi-Fi on buses last spring/ early summer. Rex has been working with technology director Lorinda Brader, district treasurer Chris Ziegler, and bus mechanic Josh Rufenacht to come up with the plan.
The plan is to make the service available to students in March, according to Rex. That timing is dependent on the arrival of supplies and installation equipment.
Archbold Area Schools would be on the cutting edge of offering this type of service to students.
“When we looked for other districts to discuss with we could only find one in the state,” Rex said. Indian River Valley in southeastern Ohio was the lone district. “There are schools in other states that have been doing this for multiple years,” he added.
Router equipment will cost approximately $6,500 total for all seven buses. That will be paid for out of the permanent improvement fund.
The service to provide Wi-Fi capability will be just under $270 per month, according to Rex. That is a general fund expense.
The superintendent said that the district has also done a survey of high school and middle school students to see who does not have access to Wi-Fi at home.
“This will allow us to see if there is a need to use our buses as hot spots. Park buses near locations where kids don’t have Wi-Fi so they can do their homework,” said Rex. “This is an idea we are discussing, have seen other places, and (we are) checking to see if is a good idea for our kids/district.”
District officials are looking forward to implementing their Wi-Fi plan next month, according to Rex. “We are excited to see how this works for our kids.”
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010