Comments received; No question and answer format


ALMONT — With the Almont Community School $58.4 million bond issue vote just days away, there was a small turnout of people at Tuesday night’s Town Hall meeting.

Approximately 40 people gathered in the high school auditorium to hear the second presentation of bond information from interim Superintendent Kimberly VonHiltmayer. People were encouraged to go to the school’s website and go to the Bond Information tab to see details of the millage proposal.

Prior to public comments, VonHiltmayer told the sparse audience there is roughly $755,323 in the district’s sinking fund. As an example, she said if the district had to replace a boiler, it could take up to $500,000 of that money.

She stressed the fund is for emergency repairs, not general maintenance. With space being a growing concern, VonHiltmayer said projections provided to the State show an increase of 203 students in the already crowded district, within the next five years.

Audience members complained about the meeting not being an open forum as they thought it would be. Rather, public comments were accepted with little or no feedback.

Concerns voiced at the meeting included the lack of design plans prior to a vote, the bond amount and one resident who said the board was being “irresponsible and negligent.”

Board member Rick Battani addressed the issue of the controversial field house saying, “We still need items that could be part of the field house. Our staff has told us that. We’d need a gym, we would need space for band. There’s not a huge savings there. We would only save roughly $3 million from the cost of not doing the field house. Don’t take your information from Facebook or other social media. Come talk to us. So far, no one has come to me with questions. This board is not going to do something reckless or irresponsible.”

The proposed bond issue has clearly created animosity within the school district, as has been evidenced at several meetings.

Almont school board President Angela Edwards has said unfortunately, there has been “vitriol” (definition is partially, “bitter, deep-seated ill will”) within the district.

The Almont school district has roughly 3,000 residents. Voters go to the polls February 27.