Citizens for Safe Fairfax County Schools
Stop the Crossfield Cell Tower

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FCPS Policy #8335 (cell towers on school properties) revisions fall short


FCPS Board Members, 

On May 14, you will consider updates to FCPS Policy 8335 (cell towers on FCPS properties). The current policy is ten years old, is completely deficient, and does not prioritize the safety and security of FCPS students and staff.

While we appreciate the time and effort the Governance Committee has invested in its review of Policy 8335, the FCPS staff’s recommended changes fall far short of adequately addressing the risks associated with allowing cell towers on FCPS properties.  Additionally, the proposed policy revisions fail to address any of the community’s concerns, nor does it incorporate any of the community’s proposed policy language, despite two years of collaborative efforts by the community with FCPS Facilities Department.  FCPS leadership has failed to act in a manner consistent with its stated operating principles – that it welcomes and is responsive to input from the community. 

The community is adamant that the recommendations you will review and act on at the May 14 meeting be considered the School Board’s first step (and not the last step) in creating a policy that protects and prioritizes the safety and security of FCPS students and staff. 

Why does the Community oppose cell towers on FCPS properties?
•    Cell towers introduce unnecessary risk to FCPS students and staff (tower fires, equipment falling off towers, ice falling from towers, attractive nuisance).
•    Cell towers inhibit FCPS flexibility to expand/renovate school sites, and therefore interfere with the educational environment.
•    The current policy does not provide for needed oversight and involvement by the School Board and maximizes revenues for a third party vendor at the expense of our children’s safety.

Community input to Policy 8335– What do we want?
•    Safety and security of students and staff should be the foundational consideration of Policy 8335.
•    FCPS land should be reserved for near-exclusive educational use and cell towers should only be allowed on exception-only basis.
•    Clear policy language that indicates no cell towers on elementary or middle schools properties, and by exception only on High School sites, subject to meeting a reasonable minimum setback requirement.  
•    If there is any Community opposition, the proposed cell tower application will be deemed not feasible and will not move forward.
•    FCPS will not grant any easement(s)/right of way to adjacent landowners for the purpose of facilitating cell tower construction proximate to a FCPS school site.
•    FCPS will hire an independent third party Municipal Telecommunication Consultant (wireless tech expert) to evaluate feasibility and appropriateness of all cell tower applications and provide guidance to the School Board and FCPS management. The cell tower applicant would be required to pay a fee to cover the costs for the third party evaluation. 

Thoughtful and meaningful updates to Policy 8335 are required if  FCPS truly wants to achieve Superintendent Braband’s vision of being a world-class educational system.  We hope the School Board demonstrates genuine leadership on May 14 and requires that the community’s concerns be adequately addressed in a more meaningfully revised Policy 8335. 


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