Round Rock ISD Apologizes, Backs Out of Cell Tower at Elementary School
The Round Rock Independent School District is backing away from an agreement with cell phone provider AT&T after parents and community members raised concerns about the construction of a cell phone tower on an elementary school campus.
According to a letter sent to parents, the district agreed to lease land to AT&T to build the tower at Pond Springs Elementary School, but some parents say Monday's letter was the first time they had heard of the agreement.
Lisa Geena—who lives across the street from Pond Springs—says no one notified her of the construction. She says she’s worried about the tower’s effect on property values and possible health risks.
“It’s an unknown factor to me and I don’t understand how they could sign a contract for something that they don’t know the safety of and put it in the schoolyard," Geena says.
In a statement sent to parents Wednesday, Superintendent Steven Flores says he regrets there was a lack of community input. He says lawyers are working to release the district from the contract.
Cell phone towers have raised concerns across the country. The Federal Communications Commission says cell phone towers emit extremely low levels of radio frequency radiation, but others say the long-term side effects of cell phone towers are still unknown.
The contract is for $15,000 a year with the money going toward daily operations and an enrichment program at Pond Elementary.
Parent Dana Vasagam says she's pleased with the district's decision to ask AT&T to cancel the contract, but parents are still planning a protest in opposition of the cell tower on Saturday at 11 a.m.
"We will keep going until we hear that AT&T plans to stop the construction completely," Vasagam said in an email.