Tourism industry asks for changes in school start date law

Posted at 8:57 AM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 10:33:59-04

Inside the state capital Thursday, the Anderson Economic Group released it's study revealing the financial impact of Michigan's Post Labor Day law.

The law was fully into effect in 2006 allowing for accurate data to be obtainable in 2007.

"We found that there was a noticeable effect on Michigan tourism measured in hotel room nights and other spending at restaurants, in transportation, and entertainment," said Alex Rosaen of the Anderson Economic Group.

The report says Michigan saw more than $20 million dollars in extra revenue when schools were required to start after Labor Day.

A loophole in the Post Labor Day law allows for schools to start classes earlier which many Mid-Michigan school districts are doing. It's a trend which could have damaging effects on Michigan's tourism industry.

The Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association is calling for an end to the loophole, hoping lawmakers address the issue soon.

"We really need to consider all of the fallout," said Deanna Richeson from the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association. "There are other options than starting school early in August, we could go longer into June and accomplish the same instructional days."

More than 100 districts, ISD's and Charter Schools applied for early-start waivers this year.

Several local districts including all in Jackson County started before labor day. Superintendents tell us tourism dollars shouldn't determine the start date and that they've had no complaints from parents.

Chad Crandall, a father who's kids are in the Okemos School District, says he doesn't see a problem as long as Labor Day comes with a four-day weekend.

"We still made plans and went away," said Crandall. "We saw a lot of people on the road, people were still vacationing, so I don't think it will make as much of an impact as they think."

The Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association says tourism is the third largest source of income for the state.