School Board Workshop 11/28/2023 Hears Presentations on Cell Tower Placement and More


Tuesday, November 28th, 2023, Flagler School Board members held their afternoon workshop meeting. This workshop included presentations by AdventHealth, the 2024-2025 school calendar, Quantum Health, and FPL Easement/Cell Tower Placement.

AdventHealth and Flagler Schools have been partnered together since 2021, and will continue this partnership into 2024, with the option to renew this partnership further. They provide mental health resources, classroom to careers and offer athlete care as well. AdventHealth discussed the highlights of their partnership so far, including the increase in behavioral health identifications, training staff, 80% of staff has been trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid. At least five FPC students have been hired from 2022-2023 via the Allied Health Pathway Job Shadow. They have deployed athletic trainers at both of Flagler County’s High Schools, conducts pre-participation screenings, and they have enhanced concussion protocols. During the comment/question section of the presentation, the topic of requiring these screenings for sports, the board agreed that is something they should be considering.

The 2024-2025 school year calendar was also presented. This particular year poses an issue for scheduling due to Florida State Law stating that School cannot start before August 10th, which for 2024, falls on a Saturday. The other issue that is posed for next year’s calendar is that it is an election year, and many of our schools are used as a polling location. August 20th and November 5th are both voting days; the school board works hard to ensure that students are not on campus during polling days. Staff pointed out that per Florida law,  they have to maintain 67 hours per semester in high-school, and with a week off for thanksgiving, plus two days off for polling days, the high-schools would fall short of this requirement. The board directed staff to add a minute to each class period in order to preserve the Thanksgiving break and to keep students out of the schools during polling days. This would change the end time of high school days by 7 minutes.

Kory Bush and Dave Freeman gave a presentation to he board on an FPL Easement at Matanzas High School and a cell phone tower. The FPL easement would allow access to make repairs and other necessities. Conduit and cabling is all underground, nothing is overhead. Regarding the cell tower on FPC property, the old 4g cell tower has been replaced with a 5g tower. The lease is up for automatic renewal, and generates $3,645 each month. There are other cell towers near other schools in Flagler County, however they are not on school property. This tower is the only cell tower on Flagler School property. Currently the lease is set for autorenewal until the year 2046. The board is looking at companies to conduct a study on health safety of having a cell tower so close to/on public school property.  The discussion by the board regarding the potential health harm to students had many of the members saying that there is cause for a study to be done to determine levels of Radio Frequency and how it could be effecting the students. The cost of the study is $6,350 using SiteSafe. The company will come back to the school board and give a presentation on their findings after the study is complete. Once the study is done, the board can then start discussions on what they can or cannot do to move forward.

Board member Chong brought up that Orange county banned cell phones completely in their schools and they have seen a decrease in bullying. She asked that the board members look into this and see if that is something the board can discuss for our Flagler Schools. Superintendent Moore did state that they have seen an increase in cell phone violations in Flagler Schools.

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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