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Cell tower issue returns to Hillsborough's agenda, with a difference



TAMPA -- In some ways there was nothing new in the appearance at Tuesday's Hillsborough School Board meeting of three residents who oppose the current practice of allowing cellular telephone towers to be installed atop schools.

After all, the issue has been riling up some Hillsborough parents since at least 2005, and these visitors were among those who started a website to organize the opposition.

William Cook, whose son attends Plant High, said the district has failed to scrutinize its contracts with cell companies and monitor their dealings.   Parent Lisa Williams, whose children attend Dale Mabry Elementary, asked the board to hold a workshop to consider the possible health effects of placing towers near children. And parent Carrie Grimail asked the board to quit delegating such decisions to school principals.

"If you’re going to continue the policy, why don’t you talk about it instead of the principals?" she asked. "Because they’re not elected."

But there was something a bit different on Tuesday, and it had everything to do with an election.

New member Stacy White had just been seated on the board, following his Nov. 2 victory in District 4. And he's none too happy about how the cell tower issue has been handled.

"I think it should be in the board's hands," White said, arguing against the idea of letting principals handle the issue.

Incumbent April Griffin, just re-elected to a second term, joined him in voicing support for a workshop.

"Ultimately this is falling onto our shoulders," she said. "I think this deserves a more in-depth discussion than we’ve given it in the past."

Other board members also agreed to the session, but decided the controversial issue of early-release days should be handled first. And with a crowded agenda, the cell tower issue might have to wait until 2011.

"It might be several months before we’re able to do this," said chairwoman Doretha Edgecomb.


[Last modified: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 1:18pm]


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