Senate Committee Moves Bill to Repeal Post-Labor Day School Start Law, Chamber Opposed

April 3, 2017

Last week, the Senate Education Committee moved legislation, despite significant opposition by the Michigan Chamber and other business interests, to repeal Michigan’s post-Labor Day school start law. 

Although this legislation was billed as a way to address the “summer slide” and boost academic achievement, it does nothing to improve education quality, lengthen the school day or year or increase academic outcomes. Rather, it simply reshuffles the current 180-day calendar from an early fall to a mid-August start with no guarantees that the calendar year will be spread out over a greater number of months. In fact, under this proposal, schools could release students for “summer vacation” in mid-to-late May.

The Michigan Chamber has long supported the post-Labor Day school start law as a way to boost Michigan’s travel and tourism industry. Research shows Michigan’s post-Labor Day school start law has produced its desired intent. In fact, a 2015 study commissioned by the Anderson Economic Group found that in just two years following the statute’s enactment, hotel revenue levels had increased by over $20 million. 

The law also ensures there is an adequate workforce available to staff the travel and tourism industry throughout their peak summer season. Without student workers to carry them through Labor Day, many hotels, golf courses, campgrounds, restaurants, marinas, etc. will be unable to keep their doors open or forced to operate during limited hours. 

While we recognize schools are looking for ways to address the “summer slide” and boost academic achievement, this can be achieved without cutting into the July or August calendars, which represent the top two highest revenue months for Michigan tourism business owners. Schools can easily achieve these outcomes today simply by pushing their calendars deeper into June.

Please contact Wendy Block with any questions at wblock@michamber.com.