Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough School Board refuses to halt new cell towers at schools

TAMPA — The Hillsborough School Board has shot down the County Commission's request to halt plans to raise any more cell towers at schools until concerns about community involvement are resolved.

The decision, announced Friday in a letter sent to commissioners, is sure to touch off another round in a controversy that dominated a School Board meeting earlier in the week.

Many parents at Pride Elementary in New Tampa say they didn't know their school had a cell tower until it already was built. A community meeting wasn't held until October — nearly two months after the tower had been installed.

Despite anecdotes like those and the commission's objections, School Board Chairwoman Carol Kurdell said the district will continue to allow school principals to authorize the building of towers on their campuses.

"We've complied and will continue to comply with all of the requirements in the county's land code," she said. "We always have."

In light of recent protests, commissioners also are taking another look at a land use change that made it easier to raise cell phone towers at schools without public hearings. School officials said in the letter that they don't have a problem with long-standing requirements, and will make use of them while the county studies the matter.

The uproar over cell phone towers at schools has caught many by surprise. In recent years, more than a dozen Hillsborough schools added cell towers to their campuses with relatively little attention. Principals were glad to have the extra cash, which can range into the thousands.

Then community protests over a proposed tower at south Tampa's Coleman Middle School prompted the principal to table the idea. Since then, parents have started organizing anti-cell tower campaigns in other communities.

Rodney Thrash can be reached at or (813) 269-5303. Letitia Stein can be reached at or (813) 226-3400.

Hillsborough School Board refuses to halt new cell towers at schools 02/13/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 13, 2009 11:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger


    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  2. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season


    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  3. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium


    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32, was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with Rays broadcasting director Larry McCabe when he …

  4. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater


    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.
  5. College World Series title puts Florida Gators in elite company


    The Florida Gators put themselves in rare company with Tuesday night's College World Series national championship victory.

    Florida ace and Tampa native Alex Faedo (21) lets loose with his teammates after they win the Gators’ first baseball national title.