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Schools could see cell towers
Ultimate decision would 'be made with community'
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Forsyth County News

On the net

T-Mobile’s proposal can be found on the school system’s Web site,

School board members will check the reception from local parents and teachers before making the call on whether to allow cell towers to be placed at four Forsyth schools.

During Thursday’s work session, T-Mobile consultants pitched a plan to place towers at Kelly Mill and Whitlow elementary schools and Vickery Creek and Riverwatch middle schools.

The proposition is being considered as way to find alternative funding to supplement state shortfalls.

If the towers are approved, the school system and each school would split the money collected from the lease agreement with cell phone company T-Mobile. That could total nearly $1 million over a 30-year agreement.

Dave Peluso, consultant with Pat Marshall and Associates, spoke to the board Thursday, breaking down T-Mobile’s lease agreement proposal.

The system would collect $26,000 as a one-time payment in addition to a monthly collection of $1,675. Every year, the lease would increase by 3 percent. The lease terms would be in five-year increments, with the option to renew every five years during the 30-year agreement.

Following the meeting, Board Chairwoman Ann Crow said the board will have to study the proposal more closely before even deciding to take the issue to the community.

If the board decides to move forward, public input meetings would be held at the three existing schools prior to the board’s vote. Kelly Mill Elementary School won’t be constructed for at least another year, but community members and future families of that school could attend the Whitlow Elementary School meeting to submit comments.

Community feedback will be a large part of the board’s decision, and will likely begin in January, she said.

“We would not do anything without contacting the local school councils and the people in the communities that it would affect,” Crow said. “[Comments] would greatly impact our decision.

“There is a need for more towers to provide cell service and that is something people are interested in, but at the same time, schools may not be the place to put towers. But that is a decision that has to be made with the community.”

In other business, Associate Superintendent Lissa Pijanowski and Superintendent Buster Evans updated the board on the status of their application for a virtual charter school, IQ Academy of Georgia.

Pijanowski said the system will make some small revisions and update its application for reconsideration by the state department of education.

Evans said the state will likely have to review its virtual charter school policy before approving any applications. He indicated the state will likely not approve the IQ Academy “in as timely of a format as we would hope to see.”