Refined proposal expected to go on the August ballot


ALMONT — The Almont Board of Education has voted to postpone a school bond proposal.

On Thursday, the Board delayed the proposal by a 4-3 margin, with Board President Angela Edwards and board members Dallas Walton and Janaea Smith voting in opposition to the postponement.

Edwards said the board had devoted considerable time and study to the proposal.

“The Almont Board of Education has been working towards this bond for the better part of a year,” Edwards said. “That includes weekly meetings for the last three months of 2022, and an almost eight-hour marathon meeting in which we line itemized the entirety of the bond.”

She said that amounts to hundreds of hours having been spent individually, while balancing the feedback from the community and the district’s short term and the long-term needs.

“This board has made a commitment to refuse to be shortsighted and to do our best to future-proof this bond and ensuring the success of our district for generations to come,” she continued.

“Almont’s greatest asset is our teachers, and in spite of the major infrastructure issues permeating our campus,” Edwards added. “We are at the point that our teachers can no longer shelter our kids and their education from the impact of crumbling infrastructure.”

Edwards said the main goal of a school bond proposal would be to address “the desperate and dire needs of our buildings and campus, and giving our teachers sufficient educational environments to grow our future.”

Moved to August

In the meantime, the school board is preparing to place a bond proposal on the August ballot.

“This board will continue to work to find balance on the needs and wants with the understanding that our purview is oversight in directing our district to maintain and grow our vision.

“I am confident we will find this compromise while keeping our duty to our district at heart – always prioritizing our children’s education while being fiscally responsible to our stakeholders and representative of our community. It is our intent to have a bond on the ballot before the end of this year, so work may begin in 2024.”

Schools Supt. Dr. William Kalmar echoed the goal for an August ballot, while validating the long process thus far.

“Our bond development process has been a comprehensive one over the last year,” Kalmar said. “The Almont Board of Education entered into an agreement on Feb. 28, 2022, with Barton-Malow Builders to conduct a facility assessment and then assist us in planning for improvements.

“They conducted focus panels and surveys of stakeholders, and over the summer and fall refined a proposal to the State of Michigan Treasury for a bond to go to ballot.”

He added that the bond proposal received preliminary approval from the Treasury in November, and on Dec. 19, 2022, the board of education voted 7-0 to submit the preliminary bond for final approval from Treasury.