Prospect Learning Center, a public special-education school, would have some of D.C.’s most technologically up-to-date classrooms—if they were actually connected to the Internet. But the D.C. public-school system is in a multi-million-dollar contractual dispute with Verizon, which is refusing to provide service to new and renovated schools such as Prospect. As a result, Prospect has done without some staples of contemporary education this year, such as e-mail and virtual frog dissections. And then there’s Bryan Mayo’s problem: A third-grader at Prospect who has difficulty speaking and holding a pencil, he’s had to go without the online software he uses to make his written thoughts audible in class. “He has a hard time explaining what he needs,” says Vicki Mayo, Bryan’s mother. “It’s just been really frustrating for him.” Verizon spokesperson Harry Mitchell acknowledges that the lack of service is a “very bad thing for these students.” But, he says, Verizon hasn’t been paid a dime in months, and “you have to kind of say, ‘Look, we can’t keep providing free service to your schools.’” —Jeff Horwitz