Loudoun County School Board Still Formulating Tower Policy After Five Years

October 30, 2017

Reprinted from Inside Towers

The Loudoun County School Board has been working for five years to adopt a new policy that makes way for cell phone towers to be erected on school property, reported Loudoun Now. The new policy will generate additional revenue for the district and will include language that states “the site selection will include health, safety and security considerations.”

School board officials are eager about the policy, but some school board members raised concerns over cell towers and the possible link to radiation health risks. “I’d love to see that it is away from the school buildings because there are a lot of people who have concerns about the radiation coming from these and its impact on students,” Debbie Rose said. “We don’t want to expose students to any potential risks.”

Vince Scheivert, assistant superintendent of digital innovation for the school district, countered the argument. “You notice when you don’t have cell phone signal, your phone battery drains so much faster? It’s because it’s continually putting out at a maximum rate,” Scheivert said. “If you’re right next to it, it’s really bad. But once you’re nine, 10 feet away—how nearly every single tower is—then it drops off to a nominal rate.”

Although still under review, the policy will require companies interested in placing infrastructure on school property to go through a public hearing process before the school board can approve or deny the application. Each application will be reviewed individually. And how much can the school generate in revenue? That will be determined on a case-by-case basis also; but to give an idea of the potential earnings, according to an NPR report, cell towers on seven schools in Prince George’s County, MD, generated $112,139 in revenue in one year.