The Milford School District Board of Education is revisiting the possibility of leasing land for communications towers as a source of revenue for the district by marketing available space on school campuses.
The Milford School District Board of Education is revisiting the possibility of leasing land for communications towers as a source of revenue for the district.
During the board’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, board members unanimously voted to allow Milestone Communications to market the availability of space throughout the district for communications towers.
If a communications tower is built on school property, the district will be paid $20,000 for each tower erected. As space is sold to telecommunication companies −Verizon, for example − the district will then earn $5,000 for every company that rents space. Those payments would be one-time, up-front fees, explained Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel. The district would then earn a set rental fee after the first year as companies continue using the tower.
“We’re at a point where we want to do anything that we can to try to bring funding into the district and we honestly don’t have that many opportunities,” Kohel said.
Milestone Communications would be responsible for securing a permit from the city, informing residents of plans and signing on carriers, like Verizon. Milestone currently deals with six major carriers, including Verizon, Spring and AT&T.
When the idea was originally presented to the board in June 2013, Milford School District Superintendent Phyllis Kohel was concerned that the additions of communications towers on school property would affect the district’s eligibility for energy discounts. However, Kohel recently discovered by contacting the Delaware School Boards Association that the towers would have no effect on the energy discounts.
“This is a great opportunity if anyone chooses any of our sites to put up a tower,” Kohel said. “It just presents a way to bring in some funding for the district without losing that e-rate discount that we’ve always gotten.”
The key properties the district and Milestone Communications are exploring as possible sites for wireless towers are on the Milford Senior High School campus, a recently acquired property near Evelyn L. Morris Early Learning Center in Lincoln and possibly near the district office, Kohel said.