(Raul Roa/Staff photographer )
This post has been corrected. Please see note below for details.
San Marino Unified on Tuesday moved to broaden a task force that will deal with the simmering controversy of cellphone towers near or on school campuses.
The Cell Tower Advisory Committee was born out of deep divisions in the school district over the wireless cellular sites, with many parents fearing the equipment and antennae emit dangerous radio wavelengths, the effects of which aren’t fully understood.
Federal regulators and scientists, however, have been steadfast in their insistence that the equipment poses no threat to public health.
More than 100 people on either side of the issue attended a forum discussion in October that was organized by the school district in response to concerns among parents.
San Marino Unified School District campuses house two cellphone towers, one installed between Valentine Elementary and Huntington Middle schools in 2006 and another behind San Marino High School that went up a short time later.
On Tuesday, district officials decided to expand the Cell Tower Advisory Committee from an initial 11 members to include up to 17, including two school board members and the superintendent.
Board member Nam Jack said the decision to expand the committee was in part due to the passion and concerns the applicants showed.
The school board said it would accept all applicants as long as their qualifications and residency status were verified.
Since the review process was pending, no committee chair or schedule would be known until the next meeting, at the earlier, said Supt. Loren Kleinrock.
Ming Jiang, a parent, told the school board her son started playing tennis during winter break and fell in love with it. But, she said, when the time comes for him to start playing at the high school level, “If the cellphone tower is still transmitting, I wouldn’t do that.”
She went on to say that her goal was to remove all cell towers near school grounds.
Meanwhile, Ada Katz — an attorney who works in San Marino whose daughter attends Valentine Elementary — said she applied to serve on the committee to help find a solution that would benefit the students and community.
[For the Record, Feb. 4 2013: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the advisory committee would include three school board members. In fact, just two will serve on the committee.]
Follow Mercedes Aguilar on Twitter: @Merci85.