During its regular meeting Dec. 17, the Jackson Board of Education heard from residents living around the Lake Cable Elementary School. The resident voiced their disapproval of a possible Verizon cell phone tower being erected on school property.
Residents asked members of the board what they were prepared to do about the tower, which would generate income for the district should it be installed. Board President Christopher Goff told those attending the meeting that the board was just now learning about the cell phone tower and had not had any conversations about it.
"This is a case of first impressions about the tower for the board," Goff said. "The school administration initiated the effort but the board has not heard about it. It has not been presented to the board and no recommendations for the tower have come before us."
Assistant Superintendent Barry Mason said that Verizon sent letters to some of the local businesses and others in the Lake Cable area to see if anyone had an interest in allowing them to erect a 130-foot tower on their property.
"The district received a letter from Verizon and we talked with other districts in the area that have allowed cell phone towers and we agreed to evaluate the possibility," Mason said. "We are still gathering information to see if we want to take it to the board. The next step is to listen to community input, gather information from experts such as engineers and others and then decide if we want to discuss it further."
Residents who spoke against the tower were concerned about medical safety issues for the students who attend Lake Cable Elementary. One person said that there is no data supporting or disputing the possibility of medical safety issues involved with cell phone towers.
There were comments made about the aesthetics of the tower and what it could do to property values. One person said that if the board votes to approve the tower, it could affect the community goodwill the district has built and they may find strong opposition to future school levies.
Superintendent Christopher DiLoreto said the administration was in preliminary stages and discussion about the tower and assured residents they are doing due diligence and thoroughly investigating the options.
In other business, the board:
- Approved the purchase of four Type A school buses at a cost of $190,787.
- Approved Christopher Goff as the Pro Tem for the Jan. organizational meeting scheduled for Jan 14.
The next Jackson Local Board of Education meeting is at 6 p.m. Jan. 14 at Strausser Elementary.