Dear Editor,

Almont Community Schools announced it would be seeking a new millage to support long overdue infrastructure and educational needs. As a teacher, mother and Almont graduate, I urge the community to vote for this measure next February.

Last year, as I entered my thirteenth year of teaching I joined the Oxford community school system as a middle school special education teacher, working alongside teachers and administrators who lived through a horrific school shooting just one year prior. While I did not experience this horror first-hand, I see the long-term impact of this trauma in my colleagues, and as a mother of four, the idea of this happening to my own children is unthinkable.

One of the main components of the Almont bond is improved safety and security, including new locking systems, safety film on glass and additional security cameras. This is huge to me and crucial to the safety of our children. It is unfortunate we live in a time where mass shootings have become commonplace, but the reality is additional measures like these need to be taken to protect our students.

General infrastructure upgrades are also necessary to improve the safety of our classrooms. The bond proposal includes implementing updated fire alarms, back-up generators and new emergency exit lighting plus general upgrades and repairs to roofs, electrical, plumbing and flooring. I graduated high school in 2004, and though I’m a proud Almont Raider, I was sad to see on a recent visit that my school hadn’t changed much in nearly 20 years, except now had tape running across its media center floor.

Overcrowding and developmentally appropriate classrooms is also a concern, especially if our student population continues to grow. Almont recently moved fourth grade classrooms to the middle school which is also where my son recently attended preschool. The bond will add additional fourth grade and pre-K classrooms to Orchard Primary as well as an additional playground for pre-K and equipment for fifth graders already housed at the middle school. Kids should be able to learn and grow in spaces that are developmentally appropriate.

A safe, supportive learning environment is crucial for our students to thrive, and I hope our community will join me in voting yes in February.

— Kathryn Slosek