Skubick: Debate still on over pre-Labor Day school opening and tourism industry

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The state tourism industry will release a report next week to promote the opening of schools after Labor Day.

This year 90 schools were given a waiver to open before the holiday and that has re-opened the debate about the law.

In 2005, after years of trying, the tourism industry convinced lawmakers to lock school doors until after Labor Day.

The obvious reason, the motels, resorts, restaurants and others wanted Mom and Day and the kids “up North” and not in school.

But this year the state Department of Education granted a waiver to 90 schools and now the industry is concerned it will lose jobs, revenue and leaders argue that will mean fewer dollars for schools.

Next week pollster Steve Mitchell will release a report on public support for the post-Labor Day start date.

In his last survey over 60 percent backed the law and the new survey is expected to reflect that attitude again.

On top of that the industry will release an economic impact report from Patrick Anderson to underscore the loss of revenue.

The industry contends that schools could extend the year into June or add more hours to the school day so that families could recreate over the holiday weekend and before.

But others argue many students playing football or in the marching band are already in school the week before the holiday.

Local Democratic lawmaker Rep. Tom Cochran hears the gripes from the tourism industry, which was not ready to comment on this right now.

But he has a different take. “I think you know we have the Labor Day weekend which is a long weekend my understanding most of the schools are a lot of them are closing on Friday so they’ll have a very long weekend those people would still be traveling still going to those places they’re going to go in Michigan to enjoy pure Michigan and, and you know the tourism industry you know would it take a hit it’s, it’s possible but again a lot of these people are already staying home because their kids are involved in school activities before schools even starting.”

They predict 35 million Americans will leave home this weekend and it’s clear the tourism folks want to see them on the road with their kids in the backseat and not in the classroom.

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