One of the cell phone carriers subleasing from the tower located on the maintenance yard at Valentine Elementary School has deactivated their service, lessening the transmissions at the location.
As part of what they refer to as a modernization project, Sprint/Nextel decommissioned their antenna which is located on the tower owned and operated by Verizon. The cell phone towers at Valentine Elementary School and San Marino High School locations have become items of contention among district parents, who this fall embarked on a vigorous campaign to force the San Marino Unified School District to remove the towers.
Verizon will continue to broadcast from the tower, according to Superintendent Loren Kleinrock, based on the provisions of a contract signed with the SMUSD in 2004. Verizon retains the right to sublease the tower to another cell carrier, but Kleinrock said the district “will certainly be working with Verizon in an attempt to persuade them not to bring back another carrier on the tower, but they have the legal right to add additional antennae if they choose.”
In response to parent complaints over the towers, the SMUSD retained a contractor to measure the amount of radiation that emits onto the four district campuses. All were found to be within federal limits. Ironically, the highest amounts of radiation – though still well within legal standards – were found at Carver Elementary School, which receives output from a cell tower located at the adjacent San Marino Masonic Lodge.
In response to parent concern, the San Marino school board last week approved the formation of a Cell Tower Advisory Committee, which will be comprised of citizens and district personnel. The deadline for applications is Tuesday January 8, 2013. Materials for application can be received by emailing email@example.com. Guidelines for the committee were published in last week’s Tribune.
“The currently forming Cell Tower Committee will have the charge of brainstorming ideas that can lead to the removal of the towers or, failing that, the reduction of emissions from the towers,” Kleinrock said. “I am confident that the committee will be comprised of people who will come up with the best alternatives possible, which we will present to the cell carriers.”
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