Almont Supt. and board asking for attendance
requirement to be waived for this school year


ALMONT — Almont Schools Supt. Dr. William Kalmar is not happy about the prospect that the district could be fined $6,522 for not meeting the state-mandated 75% attendance threshold on Friday, Dec. 3. in the aftermath of the Nov. 30, school shootings in Oxford. Student attendance that day totalled 68%.

“Unless the rules change, we are being fined for being open to support our students after the Oxford shooting,” Kalmar reported.

Almont High School students walk the halls between classes on Tuesday morning. Per state law, schools must have 75 percent student daily attendance or face a fine.

“Had we closed, as many schools did, this closure would just be considered an ‘Act of God’ day.

“While I am sure the schools that closed had very good reasons to do so, I felt we had a compelling reason to remain open to meet the needs of our students. And the parents of 942 of our students agreed.”

School Board agrees

Last Monday, the Almont Board of Education adopted a resolution to encourage the Michigan legislature to provide flexibility in student accounting for the 2021-2022 school year. Specifically, they are requesting that the 75% daily attendance requirement be waived for this year only. There will be many other school boards passing similar resolutions in the coming weeks.

In a March 1 letter to the Michigan legislature and those elected officials who represent constituents in the Almont school district—Senators Doug Wozniak, Kevin Daley and Dan Lauwers, State Rep. Gary Howell and others—Kalmar expressed his frustrations with the possibility of being fined.

“While we object to the fine,” Kalmar said, “the principle is even more important.

“That six thousand dollars represents the cost of books we will not purchase; employees we cannot pay; and opportunities we can not provide students,” he continued. “Our objection to this fine also concerns the principle of being punished for being open after a tragedy.

“This is a great example of unintended consequences,” Kalmar opined. “I am sure we are not alone in our concern of facing such consequences as we navigate this school year.”