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Cell tower opponents dial in concerns to BC

Tebbano said that the district did not give Independent any guidance in the location selection. The district has previously examined the site near the High School as a possible location, but construction was not pursued.

"They were asked to look at our properties," Tebbano said. "I was surprised they had mentioned the two elementary schools."

Kutz said that the No School Towers Coalition is against towers on school property in general, even at a site like near the Operations and Maintenance department, which is located further away from instructional spaces, in part because he and others are fundamentally opposed to commercial activity on school property.

Opponents roundly cited the possibility of health impacts associated with cell towers, and read a statement attributed to David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.

"There is increasingly strong evidence that prolonged exposure to radiofrequency radiation, such as that from radio and cell towers, increases the risk of leukemia, and that prolonged use of a cell phone held against the head increases the risk of brain cancer," read the statement.

Carpenter could not be reached for comment.

"I don't think it's a price worth putting our children's health at risk for," said Guillermo Martinez, whose daughter is in sixth grade at Bethlehem Middle School. "We don't need to be exposing our children to harmful radiation."

Depending on how many companies want to place equipment on a tower, the district could make anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 annually, Tebbano said.

Opponents argued that figure is a marginal revenue when considering the district's $88 million budget. Board of Education President James Dering acknowledged that while the figure is not staggering, it is hard to find sizable savings considering the majority of the budget accounts for personnel and instructional services.

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