There were around twenty parents participated this part of the meeting. Only one person raised hand when asked whether they knew about the cell tower a few weeks ago.
The issue was raised almost three weeks ago, Superintendent Loren Kleinrock yet need to find out exactly when the contracts were signed, how long the contracts are and what carriers are involved and what penalty it might be if we have to break it.
- Key points & studies listed on the cell phone towers blog were presented to the PTA
- The School Board has made the cell phone towers at Valentine & SMHS issue a priority. A private investigation will be conducted. Also, someone from Caltech was contacted to provide expertise on this matter.
- The School District was given about 1.5 inches thick of current studies and information by the group of concerned Valentine parents - they will have them reviewed & evaluated.
- A copy of the long-term contract for the cell phone tower will be given to Ming in the next few days. Many parents and spouses are lawyers and can give "free legal advice" to review the contract closely.
- The school district has an old meter and are in the process of getting a new meter to read the radiofrequency (RF) amounts coming from the cell tower, and compare that to other cell towers around San Marino.
- One parent pointed out that the height of the antennas at Valentine seemed low compared to other towers.
- There are many unknowns - how many people live near a cell phone tower?
- Mr. Kleinrock has attempted to reach someone at LAUSD, where cell towers were banned from school campuses in 2009. The main IT person there left, so he will continue to call to get information as to how LAUSD arrived at their decision.
- He is also in the process of contacting other school districts. Mr. Kleinrock mentioned that Monrovia school district has a cell tower on their campus.
- Mr. Kleinrock asked the question - if the cell towers at Valentine and SMHS were shut down and removed, how would that affect our ability to use our cell phones on campus in an emergency?
- Mr. Kleinrock also commented that when he was principal at SMHS, he was also concerned and questioned the installation of the cell tower. However, all regulations were passed at the time, and he admitted that maybe he should have questioned it more. But he is not in the position to make that evaluation.
- Commented that he has no idea the cost of breaking a long-term contract; there are also multiple cell phone carriers involved.
- Projected time for information gathering & evaluation for the School Board: 3 months
- Many parents with older children were not aware of the cell phone tower at Valentine nor heard of a public hearing by the School Board back then (~2004).
- A question was asked by a parent if the cell towers can be shut down during the months of investigation by the School Board. Mr. Kleinrock did not seem to think that was possible with the contracts.
- A question was posed by a parent to see if Valentine children can line up before school in front of the classrooms rather than at the blacktop & also to relocate the 5th graders whose classrooms are closest to the cell tower. Mr. Kleinrock did not have a confirmed answer, saying that the School Board would probably not oppose this action, but it may be up for discussion with the individual site principal.
- One parent commented that it is your choice to live near a cell tower, but it's another situation when the cell tower is present on campus where young children and staff have no choice but be near it 6 hrs/day, 5 days/wk
- One parent commented that regardless of what is found from the investigation, these cell phone towers need to be removed from San Marino campuses ASAP. Many parents in the audience agreed on this point. Parents stated they were willing to fundraise to break the cell tower contracts....lawyers may be able to find a way with new evidence on effects of cell phone towers to get out of the contract without a financial penalty?