Supt. and board to discuss how to proceed

 

ALMONT — Following the landslide rejection of a $58.4 million bond issue on February 27 by district voters, Almont Supt. Kimberly VonHiltmayer was determined to quickly find out what the community might support, if the school board decides to present a revised bond millage proposal.

The newly named Almont Superintendent held two meetings with community leaders and other guests, compiling suggestions for potentially another run at a bond millage.

“Approximately 40 community members and K-12 staff attended this meeting (March 20),” VonHiltmayer stated. “The main purpose of the meeting was to solicit community feedback on a revised bond worklist. The worklist has now been divided into three categories: Requirements, Needs, and Wants.”

VonHiltmayer expressed her thanks to those who have invested countless hours preparing documents and information.

The Almont school board has received community input on how to best proceed with a potential revised bond proposal. The board will be discussing their options at upcoming meetings.

“I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Christian Contarino (our CM/Project Manager) and his team for working tirelessly on this revised worklist,” VonHiltmayer said. “This includes meeting with me and other community members on the weekend to ensure full transparency and fiscal responsibility as we propose the next school bond.”

The requirements, according to the superintendent, are listed to address the district’s urgent needs including roofing, HVAC, safety features, pavement, deteriorating athletic facilities such as bleachers along with deteriorating surfaces on the track and tennis courts.

Supt. VonHiltmayer acknowledged that although the first attempt was for $58.4 million, should another vote be taken, the total amount is estimated to be around half the amount of the February millage proposal.

“It is important to note that the community is voicing that they are much more comfortable with a $25-$29M bond (approximately), rather than the previous bond ($58.4M). Also, the community has been vocal about not utilizing the School Bond Loan Program in this next proposal.”

The superintendent felt it was advantageous to have K-12 staff members present at the meeting, as they could speak to specific building issues/needs.

VonHiltmayer said perhaps the biggest challenge for the district, “making sure the larger community (community members who may not have children or grandchildren in the schools anymore) understand the genuine need to take care of our district’s facilities now to minimize a significant impact on the taxpayer’s wallet down the road.”

The superintendent was thankful to those who have taken time to become involved with working for a possible solution for a successful bond issue.

“I would like to thank everyone who has attended the ACS Post Bond Community Forums over the past weeks (two meetings with approx. 100 people total in attendance.)” VonHiltmayer said. “There is a collective commitment to do what is right to ensure our school community proceeds responsibly for the sake of our students and staff for years to come.”

It is expected once board members have had an opportunity to review the citizen input, further discussion will be held as to how to best proceed with a future proposal.

The district has three more opportunities to put a revised bond issue on the ballot yet this year, the first being in May. August and November are also possibilities.