Alcona to look at leasing Blue House

LINCOLN On the eve of a make-or-break millage election, the Alcona Community Schools Board of Education continued to work on new ways to make the district more efficient. Voters in the region go to the polls today to approve a 3 mill increase in their property taxes, to make up for a spiraling loss in state funds.

My Brother’s Hope, a Lincoln-based charity, wants to lease the former alternative education center, also known as the Blue House, Superintendent Shawn Thornton told the board Monday night. A market analysis indicates that rent should be $750 a month.

Once details of the lease were worked out and approved, the charity would take over the cost of operating and maintaining the building. The group also would pay a monthly rent, which could include some in-kind services, such as making roof repairs, she said.

My Brother’s Hope representative Lora Shillair said her organization would like to have a three-year lease and wants to get going on the project as soon as possible.

Thornton was given the go-ahead to prepare documents and get the building occupied.

In another business:

  • Thornton said the school received some additional Title VI funds, and these will be utilized to bring Abbie Ferris back to the district to teach and tutor at-risk students in math.

Thornton said the same funds may not be available next year.

  • Thornton said she is expecting to be out of town during today’s election, but appreciated the way the community participated in the information sessions on the issue.

“We look forward to the results of our community’s decision,” she said.

Trustee Ken Chamberlain said he remembered what the district was like before its budget was slashed.

“I came to Alcona in 2005 when my son was in the sixth grade when there were a number of programs that have since been cut. I was impressed with this school. They were doing innovative things and now all of that’s gone,” he said.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693.