Dear Editor,

As a former Almont football coach for 10 years, current business owner in Almont, Almont graduate and father of five, I am invested in our community on many levels and can speak first-hand to the dire need for the upcoming Almont school bond to pass.

I am proud to have graduated from Almont. Despite seven years of post-secondary education, I still believe that some of the finest educators I had were from my time spent in Almont.

That is why I moved back here so that my five children could have the same experience and education that I received. However, the facilities that supported myself and others before me no longer match the needs of the current generation of students or staff.

Classrooms are outdated, technology is antiquated, and facilities are deteriorating. This current year saw the Almont football team secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs; however, the field was in such poor condition due to overuse and inadequate drainage that the team had to forfeit that advantage for one of their games.

This is an annual occurrence where the field poses more risks than benefits to play on. Additionally, the locker room is nearly unusable. The space itself is too small and many of the bathrooms and showers do not even work.

It is not a maintenance issue, rather it is a useful life issue as the facilities are nearly 35 years old and many of the fixtures have exceeded their useful working life.

Since my children have been in the Orchard Primary, I have had the opportunity to volunteer inside the school on several occasions. I can tell you that the staff there is second to none and make the environment and experience for those kids one to be envied.

They do all of this despite severe overcrowding and discomfort that has led to the 4th grade needing to be moved to the Middle School. The addition of space and air conditioning to the school that this bond would provide fixes these issues.

Due to much misinformation and misconstruing of facts, I want to point out the process and details related to the bond itself. Since 1986 the debt levy on residents within the Almont district has been at 8.45 mills.

If this bond were to pass, that debt levy would fall to 7 mills. For a homeowner with a taxable value of $250,000, that is a $363 decrease in taxes you would pay annually related to the debt levy.

When this bond was initially being discussed, the projections for cost were at $72M and it would have kept that debt levy at 8.45 mills.

Through revamping the entire process and proposal, that bond amount was decreased to its current number of $58.5M with the aforementioned debt levy of 7 mills.

Lastly, I want to make a personal appeal. No issue is ever going to be agreed upon by everyone, that is human nature. But I will say that this issue is worth it. Our kids are worth it. Our teachers and staff are worth it.

Our home values and community are worth it. When I came back to Almont to open my business and renovate the building I am in that was facing condemnation, I did it because this place is worth it.

Now Downtown Almont is under a complete revitalization because other people are recognizing that it is worth it.

Let’s keep that positive progress going because, as you might expect, I promise you–it will be worth it.

Respectfully submitted,
— Dan Walker
Almont High
School ’05