Dear Editor,

Regarding the upcoming Almont Community Schools Bond Issue, I am a retired ACS teacher and administrator; I have dedicated my personal and professional life helping make ACS a successful school district. I am not, as some people have alleged, a selfish tightwad or a stingy cheapskate or someone who doesn’t care about kids. I recognize the need for added security and safety measures for our buildings. I recognize the need for additional classroom space. I recognize the need for improved STEM/ STEAM space. I recognize the need for music improvements, and finally, I recognize the need for improved athletic spaces.

I, along with many other community members, have never voted against a school proposal. Unfortunately, I will, with a heavy heart, vote no on this current proposal. Why?

1. I served on the 2013 Sinking Fund Committee, we told the public the money generated by this fund was going to be used for infrastructure repairs, building security, building maintenance, and athletic facilities updates. Nowhere in the sinking fund proposal was a “hold back” for emergency funds. Now we learn the money remaining in the Sinking Fund is being referred to as “Emergency Maintenance Fund”. Emergencies are meant to be dealt with through the General Fund balance. Has the BOE shared the current General Fund balance?

2. The proposed 80,000 sq. ft. “multipurpose building”, at a cost of $20+ million dollars, in my opinion, is a costly want. I realize the BOE contends that it is a need, that many students will be served by the facility (STEM, band, athletics). However, the needs of the STEM, band, and athletics are also addressed someplace else in the proposal. Essentially, this building is an added athletic space to be used by ACS athletes and by outside athletes who rent the space.

3. There is no site plan or environmental impact study done for the construction of the building. Add to that there is not a realistic cost association for administrating and maintaining the building. I realize there is an optimistic plan “out there” implementing a rental plan to help offset costs, but there are no guarantees about how much revenue will be generated. Can we approve a plan with so many unknowns? Maybe some people can, but I can’t. I have lived through too many dark days when the District needed to make difficult, crucial program cuts because the General Fund could not support every program. I do not want to go back to those days. I fear the costs associated with this building, which would come from the General Fund, could take us back to those dark days.

A large group of community members respectfully requested the proposal be divided into two questions, allowing voters to speak to basic needs and speak to the field house. Unfortunately, the Board ignored this request. So now the choice is ALL or NOTHING. Let the Board hear your voice, vote on February 27.

Respectfully,
— Dina Miramonti
Retired ACS teacher
& administrator