Here we go again, DeKalb!
WHO: GTCO-ATL members to speak to DeKalb School Board on Feb. 11. Please join us!
WHEN: Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 at 6 p.m.
WHERE: DeKalb County School District Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard in Stone Mountain.
WHY: We will be speaking during the public comments portion of the meeting to present the results of the countywide voter referendum on cell towers. That will be followed by our request that the board approve our cell tower resolution into their bylaws on consent agenda that same evening.
On February 11, Get the Cell Out - ATL will present the results of the July 31, 2012, ballot referendum question to the DeKalb County School Board. Voters overwhelmingly showed the leadership of DeKalb by a vote of 62% countywide that we do not approve of the placement or operation of telecommunications towers on our public school grounds.
Ironically, that's the same margin of victory that E-SPLOST passed, and they do not appear to have any problem abiding by the results of that one. So, we're hopeful they will give the same weight and consideration to what the voters have told them about cell towers, too.
One difference between the two ballot questions, however, is that the cell tower question was asked in an election with far more voters. In fact, more than 75,000 people cast a vote against the towers this past July. You can compare that to only 33,000 who voted yes on the E-SPLOST the prior November.
Together We Stand!
We all stood together, spoke out, stepped up to vote and it worked! We stopped the widespread cell tower expansion from encroaching onto the streets of our neighborhoods and next to the buildings where are children spend so many hours while in school each day.
However, the latest talk about the need for "wireless" in all our schools has once again raised concerns. Many people believe the school administration is intentionally confusing the terms of wireless with cellular in order to lead people to believe that one is not possible without the other. If Dr. Atkinson's plans for e-books will be used as an excuse to revisit the cell tower placements, we want to be able to stop that line of reasoning right now before it is too late.
And, if the district is no longer planning to place cell towers at our schools, we would like to hear that from them in a public forum. There is nothing we would all like more than to stop focusing on these "adult issues" that were a big part of the SACS report that is threatening our accreditation. With a resolution that the school board will not approve cell towers now or in the future, many parents can return to placing their focus where it is needed: working with teachers, helping our children, volunteering and providing support to our schools. We are tired of having to watch our school board's every move to determine if they or the administration is planning to bring harm our way. We want to see our system return to a focus on postive outcomes for the betterment of the children and our neighborhoods.
Cell towers fund corruption.
Regardless of whether or not you believe the science about cell towers and the negative health effects that are reported by people who live near them, there is a simple fact that no one can dispute. Cell towers fund corruption. Pure and simple.
It is standard practice everywhere across this country for cell towers to be used by the people signing the deals to line their own pockets or reward those who work under them. The money is not reported as standard budget revenue because it comes from a corporate entity, not the taxpayer.
That also means that the people are no longer the only stakeholder in the future of education. The telecom is your silent partner, but they will not remain that way for long. Without knowing why they want to be near our children, it is a much wiser choice to keep them away from the playgrounds and our most vulnerable of citizens.
It's Now or Never
We are tired of waiting and wondering. The information the school system has given us so far simply does not add up. If the T-mobile contracts approved back in July 2011 have expired, then why do we still have an active timeline showing towers will be built THIS MAY? (see graphic).
We are taking a proactive approach to resolve this issue once and for all. It is our hope that the board will take the SACS report to heart and realize that the only way to save our accreditation is to actually show signs that they are willing to change. The residents of DeKalb are demanding it from them. It's time that they take positive action!
To add your name to the speaking agenda for the Feb. 11, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and the topic you wish to address. If there is still room, you will receive a reply and your speaker number.