Many East Valley, Ariz., school districts have found an easy way to bring in extra money as they deal with tight budgets, reports the East Valley Tribune: leasing land or easements for cell phone towers. It’s something school districts have been doing for years, most since the mid-1990s, and it’s been a lucrative way of getting extra revenue. The Mesa Unified School District, which has 38 towers throughout the district, brings in about $419,000 a year from the leases. The Gilbert Unified School District gets $96,000 annually, enough to pay for two teachers. The Chandler Unified School District has received about $1.3million from 15 cell phone towers on district campuses, including a 30-year lease at Basha High School with T-Mobile worth $856,000, said Frank Fletcher, an associate superintendent for support services. "For us, it’s really pretty painless, and we get a significant amount of funding for occupying a piece of our property," Fletcher said. "For us, it’s kind of like a cash cow. It contributes to our funding issues that we have in the state, and it’s a good thing for both parties."
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