Almont Community Schools feels like they’re experiencing a “no good deed goes unpunished” moment.
The district recently learned that they’ll lose out on more than $6,500 in state funding because they did not meet an attendance threshold on December 3. In the days that followed a mass shooting at Oxford High School, many districts canceled classes due to ongoing threats even though most were not credible. Additionally, in early December Lapeer County was experiencing another wave of COVID-19 infections.
Because only 68 percent of Almont’s student body reported to class that day and that’s below the 75 percent threshold set by the state, Almont will essentially be fined.
In that moment, the district felt they were doing what’s right by holding classes and likely, as they assert, provided some much needed social and emotional support to students who were shaken by the violence in Oxford. It’s also understandable that some parents felt better keeping their children home from school that day. Overall, it seems unfair that the district must “pay the price” for those decisions.
The letter and resolution sent to the Michigan Legislature is well composed and makes many timely points. In requesting that the attendance threshold be lowered for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year, Almont leaders bring up many timely points that relate directly to the current situation in schools all across the state. Adequate staffing is likely chief among them and, as Almont’s leaders point out, lowering the 75 percent districtwide attendance threshold would provide districts more flexibility when it comes to maintaining in-person instruction.
So much has changed inside schools’ walls in the last several years due to things like violence and the pandemic and because of that, it feels appropriate for lawmakers to consider inserting more flexibility into attendance policies. It’s a fair solution for all involved and we hope that Almont’s request gets somewhere in Lansing.