A Statewide School Calendar May Extend Summer

By: Denise Bradberry Email
By: Denise Bradberry Email

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.

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  • by unknown Location: newton on Nov 5, 2010 at 08:45 PM
    kids need school the more free time on their hands the more trouble the can get into and the money the state pays for the kids in the diversion center or jail could be going towards the school systems and we do need the lottery to help fund the school systems
  • by Sandy Location: Slocomb on Nov 5, 2010 at 09:16 AM
    I remember when I was in school,way back when,we did'nt start back until after Labor Day. But we still got holidays and spring break out.We got out for summer break before the 26th of May,but you never did hear them say anything about the schools needing money or them laying teachers off.I don't think they need to put anymore work on the kids,my child is in 3rd grade and everyday she comes home with 5 books,homework and study sheets guide.
  • by Anon Location: Dothan on Nov 4, 2010 at 08:03 AM
    I don't know how this new schedule would work out, but if they say we have to try it, then I guess we'll find out. I do agree with Kimberly on one point tho. They have taken recess away from kids WAY too early. As a mother of three, my youngest child is a 4th grader, and has no recess, just PE and a short "canteen" break (where they have to SIT outside for snack, IF they have money). The kids need recesses to run and play and get their energy out. They are, after all, KIDS!!! Have the "powers that be" forgotten that? When I was growing up, we had a few recess breaks during the schoolday. Even if they aren't long, the kids need recess to stretch their legs, and run off some of their extra energy, and just be kids! So much pressure on them to learn every second. We wonder why the childhood obesity problem..all those hours spent sitting on their tails in their desks all day. Let them run and play off and on, the exercise will do them good. Let them be kids for heaven's sake.
  • by Kristina Location: Enterprise on Nov 3, 2010 at 10:17 PM
    I don't understand why the state won't look to the other states that use the lottery system for generating revenue for the schools,Ohio for example. Our citizens are traveling to other local states to play anyway. This would keep money here and help us build better schools and hire more teachers. I'm not talking about the "bingo" that the people are trying to legalize. I'm talking about a state lotto. In the gambling halls, the house always wins but with the lottery the taxes off the top go straight to the schools and it could be set up so that a percentage of the winnings also go to schools. We need our students in schools to keep up with the rest of the U.S. and the world. Around here there are a lot of military, our kids dont always stay in Alabama forever.they need to be able to excel in the world not just in Alabama.
  • by mamaJ Location: Dothan on Nov 3, 2010 at 09:31 PM
    You hit the nail on the head Wendy! I wish they would do something about the low quality of education in Alabama. I'm paying for my kid to go to private school because I want him to actually learn something. I know not many people have that option though. Something needs to be done about it all, too many children are getting a pathetic excuse for an education.
  • by Brandon Location: Ozark on Nov 3, 2010 at 09:21 PM
    I agree with Wendy, need to worry more about the education levels instead of tourist, etc. I graduated in 2005 and I've seen the difference in what I learned in school and what my younger sister is learning. Compared to what I was taught, her school work is too easy, there's no challenge for her and she gets bored of school because of this. Need to improve the education levels to give kids a challenge to keep them interested and not just bored of school. Take a look at the drop-out rate, how about the state worry about trying to lower that number. There's more than enough money to fix the problem, just they're looking for more money to spend on other items. I was adopted and my father always told me that education is the most important thing in life. It will get you through life and allow you to make something of yourself. So stop worrying about tourist and worry about getting better education in schools and help provide the kids with a good and bright future.
  • by jennifer Location: enterprise on Nov 3, 2010 at 08:16 PM
    I remember when I was in school it seemed like we got 3 full months of summer and it seemed to have worked out. Now it seems the kids only get 2 months of summer
  • by wendy Location: dothan on Nov 3, 2010 at 06:20 PM
    lets make sure the state gets money first and worry about educating our kids second. maybe that is why our state ranks so low in education. maybe they should try improving what the kids learn instead of worrying about tourist.
  • by Kimberly Location: Ozark on Nov 3, 2010 at 04:44 PM
    I think that this would be greet I lived up north and we did not start school till around the end of August beginning of September and got out in June we had some Snow days and all and some time off for thanksgiving and christmas and all we always ware reset wane we came back and learning was great nowadays the teacher's think they need all this time off to "rest" they say that the kids are two active and need to come down but if they put Recesses and all back in school then the teaches and the kids could have the breaks they need everyday and still learn as much if not more buy this new school calendar They need to look at how it is done up north and all and see how well it works for them.
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