If old school buses can’t pick up students and take them to school anymore, the buses can come to them and bring school to where they live.

The Osceola County School District‘s Special Services Department presented the School Board Tuesday night with a pilot program to turn those buses into hubs for Internet access where those who don’t have online access in hotel rooms along U.S. Highway 192 can get school work done that requires connectivity.

Much like the school district created a STEM vehicle that could visit schools and students could board and do science experiments and such, department officials want to take what would be called the SMART Buses up and down the 192 corridor, where they say 500 district students live and have little or not Internet access. 

Much of the costs would be covered by a Title IX homeless grant, or in the case of the $40,000 one-time cost of retrofitting the bus with connectivity and work station, Title I school funds. Some $30,000 would be needed to staff the bus with instructional staff and a CDL’d bus driver (current employees would be used) and $6,000 for gas, supplies and maintenance.

The SMART Bus would be stocked with 11 private workstations with laptops and Internet allow for access to programs via the ClassLink application, assignments and projects and college and financial aid applications.

Under a proposed plan, the bus would run Mondays through Thursdays and be onsite at the hotels from 4 to 6:15 p.m. About 88 students could be served each week, and the bus could be used county-wide for other educational support activities during the school day and on weekends.

School Board members at Tuesday’s meeting said they were eager to hear more information about the proposal later as it comes together.