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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco School Board approves cell tower at elementary school

Commenting only after the deal was done, the Pasco County School Board this week gave permission for a cell phone tower to rise on the campus of Sand Pine Elementary School in Wesley Chapel.

The district has approved similar land leases for cell towers at Fivay High, Long Middle, Sunlake High and Gulf Trace Elementary in the past, with a goal of raising some added revenue to bolster its resources. The latest agreement calls for annual rent of $16,000 over 10 years, with four 5-year options to extend the lease. The rent would rise 4 percent each year, with an additional increase of $9,500 if a second tenant joins.

Over the course of 30 years, the lease is projected to bring the district $1 million.

In the past, such proposals have generated some small protests. Only one parent spoke out against the tower at Sand Pine, raising concerns that children's health might be at risk. One speaker supported the proposal, saying the area needs better cell phone coverage.

After the board unanimously approved the agreement, board member Allen Altman told the one parent in opposition that he appreciated the safety concerns raised, but that he had done enough research to not share those concerns.

[Last modified: Friday, May 24, 2013 9:02am]


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