Cell tower abyss; a leap for GATE

I had planned on attending the Santa Clara County Board of
Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday to oppose the expansion of the cell
tower on county land out on Furlong Road, but other meetings
conflicted with my ability to get up to San Jose and back to
Gilroy.
I had planned on attending the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday to oppose the expansion of the cell tower on county land out on Furlong Road, but other meetings conflicted with my ability to get up to San Jose and back to Gilroy.

Since the county planning commission had opposed the large cell tower, I was fully expecting Supervisors to recommend against expansion. I have held Supervisor Don Gage in high regard over the years, and thought that he would lead the way as our county catches up to the city of Gilroy and San Benito County in enacting laws restricting placement of cell towers in residential areas.

I was more than disappointed in the unanimous vote to expand the cell tower which I believe is the primary cause of illness for the Britton family. Anyone who hears their story knows of the harmful effects of radiation from the existing 35-foot cell tower near their home. How expanding this tower to 55 feet is considered a compromise is beyond comprehension.

The argument that the cell tower is already in place is an absurd reason to allow for its expansion. That is like saying that we should allow a little more perchlorate in the water because it’s already there. My moral compass does not allow me to further support Don Gage. My heart and my prayers go out to Steve and Jill Britton.

On Tuesday night, the school district GATE Parent Advisory Committee met for the last time of this school year. After a lot of hard work by Marcia Brown and parent volunteers, the GATE program in Gilroy is getting back on track. The highlights of this meeting were many.

After a few off years for testing, every second grader in GUSD was tested for GATE this year. As expected, many children who might otherwise have slipped through the cracks have now been identified. Approximately 100 students, mostly second graders, some a little older, have been designated gifted. Of that number, about two thirds of the students are opting to stay in their attendance area school. Forty students have opted to enter the Rucker GATE program. I am thrilled that the district has decided to offer two third grade self-contained GATE classes at Rucker.

On the advice of the parents, the district will use the scarce GATE funding on the students. As a result, the money will be allocated based on the number of GATE identified students at each site. Gilroy High has the largest number: 241. GATE funds sent to the high school were traditionally used to offset the salary of the AP coordinator; a practice which parents decried as not the best use of GATE funds. This year, the parents decided to designate $6,000 toward serving the needs of GATE high school students outside the regular school day. This money can be used on SAT prep or advanced course tutoring.

The parents advised that $15,000 go to the middle schools. The money will be split equitably, so Brownell will get the largest share because it has the most GATE students. Parents will work with principals to decide the best use of the funds.

The remaining $24,000 will be divided among the elementary schools. Each school in the district will receive some funding.

As a parent who attended all the district GATE meetings this year, I want to thank Marcia Brown for her dedication and hard work. She is responsive to the needs of parents and students, and really earns her keep. I know that the parents of gifted students can be perceived as aggressive; I prefer to think of them as passionate in their pursuit of an excellent education for their children.

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