Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Erin Brockovich move over! We have a mom in town who has posted videos documenting the sheer volume of cell towers in the area in a convincing effort to ban them from school properties (there are at least 86 within a 4 mile radius of Brockett ES already).
As many of you are aware, the board contemplated a 30 year contract with T-Mobile (in the process of being acquired by AT&T) placing cell towers on 12 of our school properties. In exchange, each of the PTAs of those schools will get a one time $25,000 donation and the school system will collect monthly rent on the towers.
After serious community outcry, the board dropped three schools from the list (Brockett, Medlock and Meadowview), however plans were approved to build these monstrous structures on the remaining nine school properties.
Below are my notes from the July board meeting where the subject was discussed and then passed over the objections of Nancy Jester and Donna Edler.
McChesney proposes to remove Meadowview, Brockett and Medlock from the cell tower proposal for 12 schools. Question by Elder to McChesney. Why? McC - we've heard from these communities and they've been clear, so I'm supporting their opinion. Speaks: is there a grace period so that other communities can speak up but haven't had the opportunity [audience claps and Womack admonishes them]. Is there a mechanism for other communities to let the district know that they have an issue? Tyson - no option other than to pull the item. Womack: isn't there a 6 month window? Donahue: T-Mobile has 6 months for [due diligence]. Jester: concerned about many things. I don't like the timing - we didn't get this till Friday. Didn't get financials. Term is too long. I favor an opt in rather than opt out for communities. There may be others we haven't heard from so I am reticent to support. Edler: Happy to speak on this matter - I've had concerns. Communities have cited health reasons. I rep district 7, but also entire county so I'm not one to pick and choose for health of a particular community. So if we take out 3, I suggest we take out all 12. [Applause and Womack again admonishes.] Lots more discussion. Roberts rules out the window. [Sorry - got distracted - missed some.] I think Edler took out all the others but Lakeside, Briarlake and Meadowview(?). I think Walker insisted on Roberts Rules. So Womack puts out original motion and takes off Brockett, Medlock and Meadowview. Vote. Passed 7-1. Whew!
Edler: Amendment to the motion. Remove the remaining schools we identified before: Jolly, Margaret Harris, MLK, Narvie, Princeton and Smokerise ES. Cunningham: we don't have towers at all in South DeKalb - we're losing signals left and right. We want towers. SCW: I agree. Meadowview is smack dab in the middle of a community. Cunningham can have towers since they have a lot of land, but Meadowview is in a community so yes, it needs removed from the list. Edler: It's not the school system's business to provide cell and internet service to the county.
Vote: on Edler's amendment - eliminates all towers. Motion fails.
Main motion with original amendment: Passes 6:2 (Edler & Jester)
Some of these communities are only going to get a cell tower because they weren't aware of the plan and/or didn't have the time or focus to organize a campaign against them. Apparently, there is still time to fight this action. Visit the newly formed Facebook page, Get.The.Cell.Out for more info.
To view a map highlighting the locations of the towers, click here. (The locations removed from the list are indicated by a flag.)
UPDATE: Here's the NEW link to the countywide survey:
Get the Cell Out of DeKalb County Schools
And here's a link to the FOX 5 report on the cell towers:
Opinions Divided Over Cell Towers at DeKalb Schools