LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan’s tourism lobby and public education groups are on a legislative collision course over when schools should start.
After years of trying, the tourism lobby got lawmakers to adopt a law ordering local schools to open after Labor Day.
Ever since, the education lobby has fought to give local schools the power to decide when school opens.
Lansing City Council member Peter Spadafore and a colleague of his now have a bill appearing before the Democrat-controlled Legislature about the issue.
If passed, the bill would eradicate the tourism law, giving local school boards the option to open before the holiday weekend.
The tourism lobby is fighting back, hoping to give parents more summer time to vacation with their kids.
“This means a lot of families are foregoing that last vacation and just not taking that as schools start earlier,” explained Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association. “That means the 200,000 of our high school students who are having their first job opportunity have to leave that opportunity a little sooner.”
While Spadafore contended that cutting summer short may be an unpopular proposal, he said children’s education outweighs the state’s tourism industry.
“Show me some evidence that starting [school] before Labor Day is the best pathway to do that,” Spadafore continued.
As a compromise; Winslow suggested closing schools on Monday and Friday for every week in August. He hopes the House education panel will consider that alternative next week when voting on the proposed legislation.