Thursday, May 22, 2014

Julius West's Principal Follows Wootton's Cell Phone Dance

Another day, another Rockville principal thinks he can place a cell phone tower at "his" school without community approval.
Wondering who this is?  Craig Staton, Principal at Julius West MS in Rockville.
Really Mr. Staton? What part of "no" do you not understand?
Following the great example at Wootton High School across I270, Mr. Staton thinks a cell phone tower at Julius West is a great opportunity. A few months back, he told the PTA.
Funny, but just like Wootton's community, the Julius West community heard this before and said no. And like Wootton, Mr. Staton believes in the saying, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
BUT - principals come and go, and so do students and their families. So what if the PTSA agrees to a cell phone tower - its less money for them to raise, and hey, they will be out of there in a few years. Don't anger the principal, after all, he might take it out on your student.
Communities, however, have to live with the cell towers, the hazardous materials, diesel fuel, and noise forever. And, folks who live in the community more often than not don't have kids in the school. Middle school is three years, high school is four. How long have you owned your house? How long are you planning to stay? Bet the answer is longer than three or four years.
 Mr. Staton and Dr. Doran don't even come close to following the MCPS policy for seeking approval for a cell phone tower at the school. According to the MCPS Real Estate Management Strategic Plan, if the community says no - that's it. No cell tower on the school property. Here is the chart from the school system's own plan:
A funny thing happened on the way to Wootton's cell phone tower.
Dr. Doran forgot to invite the community.
He told his PTSA, he put a meeting on the website, and he told his feeder schools. Community? Don't need to notify them, someone else can do that at the supermarket.
Much to Dr. Doran's surprise, a crowd of angry neighborhood residents showed up, and said, where's Dr. Doran and why isn't he here? And, the cell phone tower deal was cancelled.
Note to Julius West community - start your emails and phone calls to Mr. Staton. Here is his contact information. Let him know that as a member of the community impacted by this decision, you are firm in your NO.  Mr. Craig Staton  301-279-3979
To the communities near the other 200+ schools in Montgomery County? Beware, a cell phone tower may be coming to your school soon. Know your rights, and be vigilent. After all, principals come and go, so does the PTSA leadership. Its hard for the PTSA to turn down a principal's request, but its not so hard for the rest of us.
Bigger questions for the Montgomery County Taxpayers.  Should principals be concerned about fundraising and cell phones, or should they devote their attention to the education of the students in their building.
And, really, why do school principals have so much power over placement of cell phone towers at school sites? That is the bigger question.

1 comment:

  1. My name is Nadia and my neighbor and I managed to accumulate over 300 votes to defeat the T-Mobil Cell Tower at Julius West Middle School in 2006.Through so many ups and downs going to PTS parents meetings, hiring a lawyer on our expenses together with other couple of residents, Planning Commission and constantly attending Citizen's forum we were able to stop the tower.
    The tower was supposed to be in the same location that Verizon is now planning. All the records are in the archives and can still be seen with my name and they are in the hands of Ms. Janis Sartucci.
    it is a disgrace and inconceivable that we have to go through this stressing process yet again.We are permanent residents and we have objected to having the tower at JW defeated. How many times do we have to go through this? Cell Towers should not be placed in schools regardless of the age of the students .consideration should also be towards the teachers that also live part of their lives in the school.These Cell towers are a dying institution as new technology is around the corner. What will happen to these ugly towers when they become obsolete? I am sure that many people are not aware that these towers are DATA towers and not to improve reception. Permission to get these towers must have the signature of the land owner and not just a simple Joe from somewhere to sign the document.
    Safety is our major concern. Having fumed diesel on school grounds.Cell tower that can fall, kids that can climb.Strangers with maintenance trucks coming into the school during school time for repairs.It is not acceptable. Parents, kids,teachers,come and go. We have property and we reside here. We do not want our property to go down. Rockville has a historic past as well and that should be kept into consideration. In 2006 there was no historic house at across JW. Last year the 628 Maryland Ave residence has become Historical. I can go on for a long time but I will stop here.


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