Dear Editor,

I just finished writing checks to pay summer property taxes to three townships. The township we live in (Almont) has by far the highest school bond millage of the three. I think I can speak for the majority of retirees. We are looking forward to the bond millage rate reduction from 8.45% to around 8.0% in December. With another millage rate reduction schedule in 2024 bringing the rate to under 4%, more in line with neighboring communities.

Our children never attended school in two of these townships, and we haven’t had a child in Almont schools for 30 years in Almont, we are looking forward to some tax relief.

Now we taxpayers can see the light at the end of the 20-year school bond tunnel; but the Almont school board is proposing a new millage bond to replace the expiring bond. The money will cover upgrades to our facilities, which is understandable. The board is also proposing as part of the bond additional classrooms, and a “field house”. How much of the proposed approximate $62 million bond will be needed to construct and maintain the “field house”? How many high schools in the area have a field house?

School of choice students have added a burden on our school system. Today, the school of choice comprises around 26% of Almont’s student population. As class sizes increase the all-important interfacing between teacher and individual students suffers. Should there be a limit as to the percentage of school of choice students, how many can any given school system and their tax base support?

Should the parents of a school of choice student pay the applicable school millage tax of the school district they attend or the district they live in?

The bond is set to appear on the ballot early next year. It’s said this bond will establish our District as a destination when it comes to facilities and a place you can be proud to send your children to. In the face of teacher shortage, I would like to see the general fund used to retain and/or lure highly qualified educators to Almont. Not used for potential increased expenses related to unnecessary increased square footage. Good teachers develop and motivate students more than any fancy facilities. I attended five class reunions over the past fifty years. We reminisced about teachers, principals, coaches, custodians, football games, proms and some cheerleaders; the subject of facilities good or bad never came up. Let’s invest our school tax dollars in the classroom and educators who can give our Almont kids the foundation they will need to navigate the future they are facing.

— Tom Janicki