Tuesday, January 29, 2013
This serves to acknowledge receipt of your request to speak at the
February 11, 2013 Board of Education work session & business meeting. You will be speaker #2. The meeting will be held at 6:00pm in the J. David Williamson Board Room at DeKalb County School System's Administrative & Instructional Complex, 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard in Stone Mountain.
Margaret C. François
Board of Education Office
|Here we go again, DeKalb!|
GTCO-ATL members to speak to
DeKalb School Board on Feb. 11!
From top, Cheryl Miller, Viola Davis,
Paul Miller. Please join us!
Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Office: 678.676.0777 (Direct)
Office: 678.676.0027 (Main)
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 how they felt about a subject that telecom lobbyists thought we were clueless about.
The telecom lobbyists took a calculated risk with this one. They offered a compromise in order to stop our ban on the towers that was about to be passed along to the floor of the House for a vote. In a committee, it was determined that a referendum would gauge the waters of support before such a ban would be necessary. They gambled that some questionable wording and basic ignorance of our residents about the subject would provide them with the votes to show that the public did not care.
Instead, a shocking 62%, more than 75,000 people, voted "No" when asked if they thought telecommunications towers should be placed on school property in DeKalb! So, it's time for the school board to face this truth. The people of DeKalb do want this plan, originally conceived by Paul Womack who lost his seat to newcomer Jim McMahan, largely due to this issue.
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 her plans for e-books will be used as an excuse to revisit the cell tower placements, we want to be able to stop her right now before it is too late. And, if the district is no longer planning to place cell towers at our schools, we want to hear them say that so we can all rest at ease and focus more of our time and energy where we are needed, working with teachers, helping our children, volunteering and providing support to our schools, not having to protect ourselves from them.
Cell towers fund corruption. Pure and simple. The money is not reported and simply disappears into the slush funds of principals or higher-up's who are willing to place the game. We do not want to see money from any source diverted toward those who have only brought further harm and divide to our county. We don't want cell towers for 30 years just so a few officials can repay some favors they owe to their friends.
Co-founders of Get the Cell Out - Atlanta, Cheryl and Paul Miller, will address the board regarding this subject. They will be joined by Viola Davis, the founder of Unhappy Taxpayers and Voters. We will be speaking on behalf of every school and every community. And, we will be calling upon the board to take immediate action by adopting our proposed resolution into their bylaws on that evening's consent agenda.
IMPORTANT: If you would like to help, please consider speaking with us at this meeting in support of the resolution. You will have three minutes. If you are not accustomed to public speaking and would like some help with preparing your statement, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you write a speech that you can just read, or we can help you add some good data and statistics to back up the points you want to make. You may also wish to read the updated BioInitiative Report for Safe Schools.
If you do decide to address the board on this subject and wish to talk about your school specifically, please remember to mention at the beginning and / or the end of your three minutes that you are opposed to the placement of cell towers on ANY school grounds in DeKalb County.
Once a tower goes up at one school, it can leave a legal door open that would allow cell towers to be placed at any school, in any residential zoned area without the input of those who live there.
Join us at the podium on Monday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m. at the Board Meeting (at the Palace) You only need to send an email to Margaret Francois (email listed above) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It has been common practice for the school system to load the speaking list with fluff if they believe there is a topic being addressed by the public that they do not want to address. So, please send your request even if you are not yet sure what you will say. You can always back out, but you cannot get a time slot on the agenda once they are all gone!
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 contracts 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. Either our board will stick to the words they all said during the last election regarding their current beliefs that cell towers should not be placed on school grounds, or they will ignore us and proceed with "business as usual."
It is our hope that they 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!
We are sure they will refer to the recent redistricting plan as a sign they are listening, but that entire plan was later called out for what it really was - a contrived plan to get communities in an uproar over something that was not even necessary, according to the state. There were no redistricting requirements placed on the administration and they still proceeded in their normal process of putting a lot of schools on the hook, then yanking back the plans were the communities were outspoken.
That's not evidence of listening. That's manipulation and control and a false assertion of public opinion. Most of the communities involved likely were unaware that any of the plans were being made, much less taken back, because it all came about during the same time frame as the SACS report. Loss of accreditation is a huge issue and is not something the administration should be playing around with. But, that's exactly what going on.
It's Time for Action
If the school board would like to truly make a move that will show the county that they are willing to budge on tough issues, especially when there is community outcry, they will do something positive about the cell phone towers we have all worked together to oppose. The citizens of DeKalb have united on this issue, so we know it can be done. All we need now is for our board members to remember who they represent and agree to put a policy in place that will keep our public schools safe for our children without causing the parents to be fearful that their child could be in a high risk category for an accident, learning problems, stranger danger and even cancer.
Cell towers carry too much risk for them to be a viable revenue stream that will help solve any of the problems we face in education today. The voters made this clear in July when 62% voted against placing the towers on school grounds. That's the same margin of victory by which the E-SPLOST vote passed the prior November. If they believe the SPLOST vote is a valid measure by which to spend out money then they must also consider the ballot referendum as a valid reference point for public opinion on this subject.
A Resolution to Move Forward in the Right Direction
We will be submitting a standard resolution to them in advance so they can make any suggested edits or comments and discuss the topic with us before the Feb. 11 meeting, if needed. We will share with them the list of support we have received from county and state officials. We will share with them the research that has come out since the last time they voted on this subject that might change their personal opinions about the safety of cell towers.
And, we will ask that they move to place the resolution on that evening's consent agenda so it can be approved and go into effect, prohibiting the subject of cell towers from coming up again in our school system.