Montgomery County Public Schools and Neelsville Middle School have begun investigating the possibility of installing a cell phone tower on the grounds of the Germantown middle school.
The Neelsville School Parent Teacher Student Association will hold an information session on the topic of the cell tower installation at its regular monthly meeting tonight at the school. The meeting will include presentations from representatives of Verizon Wireless.
MCPS spokesman Dana Tofig confirmed that the school system and the middle school were investigating the possibility of allowing for the installation of a cell phone tower on school grounds. “A provider has approached us and the school and is interested in placing a tower at Neelsville,” said Tofig. ”Whenever we are approached about a cell tower, we have a process that we go through that includes a PTA meeting to gauge their interest and a community meeting. The meeting at Neelsville is for the PTA simply to determine their interest.”
Tonight’s preliminary information session served as a good primer for parents and administrators to begin learning more about the issues, pros, and cons surrounding the installation of a cell tower. This will be first of numerous meetings on the topic, and the school community would have much input in the process. No vote or decision will be made at the meeting.
“Based on the feedback from parents and the community, the principal makes a recommendation to the superintendent. If the community does not want a cell tower on the property, it will not be placed there,” said Tofig.
A similar meeting was held in November at Roberto Clemente Middle School to gauge interest in the constructing at cell tower on that property.
At the meeting at Roberto Clemente Middle School, it was explained that revenue generated by the cell tower leases is captured one third by the school where the tower is located. That money can be used at the discretion of the principal for things like offsetting costs of special events at the school or field trips for students. Another third of the revenue is credited to the school cluster and the final third goes into the school system’s general fund.
If the school and PTSA decide not to move forward at this point the cell tower would not be built. However, if they decide to continue the process, the process will have to go through the general public comment and meeting sessions as any other construction project in county. At that point a full open community meeting would be organized by the school.
There are currently 11 Montgomery County Public Schools with cell towers, all but one are high schools, Capt. James Daly Elementary is the only exception.