Local News

Tourism Officials, Students Among Groups Who Want Later Start For Schools

Posted June 22, 2004

— Some students, parents and teachers are backing the tourism industry's push to start school closer to Labor Day. The debate is part of a bill now before the House Commerce Committee.

A proposal would shift the start of the school calendar. Classes would be back in session no earlier than August 25 and end by June 10.

The bill also would cut in half the number of teacher workdays from 20 to 10.

Student Kalyn Spencer wishes school would start later so she could work longer at Silver Lake.

"Starting later would give me more opportunity to save money for college," she said.

Paramount Carowinds in Charlotte said two weeks could have a $5 million economic impact on the state from that park alone.

"Increased tourism leads to increased spending in the state and more tax revenue from all tourism-related businesses," said David Mantt, of Paramount Carowinds.

Along the coast, realtors said they do not want August cut short.

"Families can vacation in May and June, but I have to tell you August is a magic date," said Stephanie Simpson, of the North Carolina Board of Realtors. "The water is finally warm, and that is when families want to take vacation."

The committee still has work to do before voting. But many organizations are calling on more study. They also want to see the tourism industry and the

State Board of Education

try to come up with a compromise.

The chairman of the Commerce Committee said the proposal has been studied enough and that people are firm in their opinions.

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