This coming school year, many systems across Alabama will be trying out a different school calendar in an effort to bring more tourism tax revenue to the state.
A group from tourism industry is pushing to have a statewide school calendar, extending the summer.
“It'll cut out a lot of the holidays that we have grown accustomed to throughout the school year; give you a longer summer, but it'll cut some of the other holidays,” says Henry County Superintendent Dennis Coe.
Dothan's Convention and Visitors Bureau's Bob Hendrix says there's a really good reason for extending the summer.
“Every day that we start early the state of Alabama loses $33 million a day in lost revenue that would be spent on families taking vacation and traveling through Alabama,” says Hendrix.
That $33 million a day is taxed, going into the general fund, much of it filtering into the education fund.
That's why systems are being asked to try a two-year trial calendar to see if there is any change in tourism dollars.
“We’re just asking for parents to work with us. We're trying to work out a compromise with industry,” says Coe, “During this two-year time they’re going to look at the revenue to see if it does have that great of an economic impact and if it does, I wouldn’t imagine there wouldn’t be legislation following it.”
But some aren't buying it.
Ann and Mike told us on facebook, "A longer summer requires a longer adjustment period when students come back to school. Too short holiday periods do not allow the burn-out to pass and teachers/students to come back rested and ready to teach/learn. You need to find another way to generate funds for education."
Kimbra from Dothan says, “It would be hard to determine if this would work because people travel also on vacation breaks and holidays. Also people tend to go out of the state for vacation like FL and GA so I don't know if this would really help AL. I guess it doesn't hurt to try something new. It could always be revised if it doesn't show an increase.”
While others feel it's not a bad idea.
Matthew from Ozark told us "That’s how it used to be. I grew up with longer summers until I hit 7th grade. Things worked out a lot better back then."
"If simply adjusting our school calendar will help generate more tourism and help generate more dollars for education, I’m all for it. If it doesn't, then I’m all for allowing the local communities to have the ultimate say in their calendar,” says Coe.
The suggested calendar means these school systems will not start class until after August 15th and will finish by Memorial Day.
We'd like to hear more about what you think about the calendar change. Leave us your comments.