CONGRATULATIONS, Get The Cell Out – Atlanta!!

Woo-hoo!  You did it!  Your determination and your perseverance won the day!

The “NO!” vote was 62% of the total votes cast!

Thank you, on behalf of DeKalb County’s students.  Without you and your hard work, Paul Womack (who we hope will soon be a former board member) would have succeeded in selling those students down the river.

We are proud to know you.

About dekalbschoolwatch

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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7 Responses to CONGRATULATIONS, Get The Cell Out – Atlanta!!

  1. GTCO-ATL says:

    Thank you School Watch and to everyone who comes here to participate in the discussions. We are so happy that the citizens of DeKalb came through for their neighbors and the children to learn about this issue and then get out and vote appropriately.

    We have remained motivated to stay vigilant on this issue because it truly has helped us to work with people across all barriers that those currently in power would like to think will keep us all divided.

    We have learned that there are many misunderstandings and rumors that lead us to all fight against each other when, in reality, we are all being pitted against one another when all we want are the same things (well, there are a few exceptions, but … for the most part…) ETHICS, TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY and a school board that is concerned about instruction over construction (to coin a McMahon phrase).

    When it came to an issue that really mattered, we were able to spread the word, work together, stand up for each other, understand one another…. it has really been inspirational at times. We still need help with putting pressure on the CEO’s office to deterine the status of these current contracts and the construction timelines. Twice our Open Records Requests have been denied for information we know they must have because it is referenced in the contracts themselves. But, we have heard some talk from Rep. Karla Drenner’s office that T-mobile is on the ropes and is considering backing out of the contracts. Perhaps Drenner will come through for us after all and negotiate with them to leave our schools alone. We will keep everyone posted if we have anything new to share!

    Speaking of Womack… it’s our understanding that a person is not eligible to run for office if he/she is the holder of unaccounted for state funds. So, where exactly IS that cell tower money, anyway? Has anyone seen a projected line item, an actual or even minutes from the prior meeting where the Budget, Finance and Audit committee discussed the funds and how they would be handled?

  2. Poster says says:

    I didn’t think that was a binding vote and didn’t think it affected the deals that have already been made. Am I correct?

  3. It just goes to show you that hard work, dedication, and constant consistent, and effective communication are keys to success. GTCO have a passion, they have stayed focused, asked the hard questions and KEEP THE COMMUNITY INFORMED!!!! This is a MAJOR accomplishment and they deserve much respect and applause for their hard work and dedication.

  4. DS_K1975 says:

    Denise…You keep fighting. Wish I still lived in DeKalb so I could vote for you.

  5. GTCO-ATL says:

    It affects whether or not the CEO Burrell Ellis decides to sign the permits to allow the construction to go forward. I think they were hoping that voters would be uninformed and would assume, like they normally do, that anything that can get money to the schools must be a worthy cause. Fortunately, we were able to get the word out across the county and keep pressure on the commissioners to keep everyone informed about the process. They commissioners will not approve Special Land Use Permits and have penned a joint letter to the CEO telling him that. The CEO will risk major backlash if he goes around the will of the people to approve construction now.

    T-mobile has the option to back out of the contract without owing the school system any more funds, if they have paid any at all to date. Only they have an out clause based on failure to secure proper permits, so the ball is in their court.

    We are hopeful that the CEO will not approve and/or that T-mobile will back down. They have already stated that they will not try to build their towers in areas they are not wanted.

    We hope they are finally getting the message that they are not wanted!

  6. District 4 voter says:

    A non-binding referendum is merely consultative or advisory. Don’t think for a minute that T-Mobile has put all of its “eggs in one basket” either. You can bet they have back-up locations in the same areas. They will build towers in areas that require them! Who will be blamed then?

  7. GTCO-ATL says:

    Hi District 4 voter. You are right, they will find a way to build towers in areas that have a need for them. We have not been opposed to cell towers in general, so the “back-up” locations as you called it would likely be fine with most people so long as the company is not in violation of our county zoning ordinances which state that they must first co-locate on existing structures or towers before they build a new tower. And, if they build a new tower, it should not be in an area that is zoned as primarily residential, which describes most of the public schools in our county.

    We do realize that T-mobile and ATT have other ways of accomplishing their goals for wireless coverage without having to impose upon the school grounds of our children. They were simply looking for the cheapest way of doing things so they can continue to make huge profits. We prefer they provide their service in a manner that is less intrusive, even if it means they have to spend a little more to get it right.

    Corporate intrusion on school grounds is a battle we should all be conscious to take upon ourselves when necessary as the objectives of a business are often in conflict with the goals of education. Children are impressionable and the taxpayers are the ones who are responsible for paying for their education. A third party with a vested interest for the next 30 years that has neither been elected nor appointed, but rather just bought their way in, should be suspect to all involved.

    And, while school grounds might be a great tax shelther, they are intended for education, not commercial profit. And children, who must attend by law, should be protected from potential environmental hazards when we are made aware of them.

    No one is blaming T-mobile for asking. We do blame certain members of our school board for saying “yes” while ignoring or even avoiding the input of the districts they are supposed to represent. As the referendum showed, most every community in DeKalb is strongly opposed to the idea of placing a tower at any public school. We hope T-mobile will choose to go to “Plan B.”

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