Superintendents differ on starting school before or after Labor Day

    Superintendents differ on starting school before or after Labor Day (File image, credit: MGN)

    (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - We're just days away from the start of the school year in West Michigan.

    But some believe students should return to the classroom before labor day.

    Newschannel 3 spoke with one superintendent who says the later start date, Franque is negatively affecting students come June.

    Allegan Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Harness says tourism is the hold up, as there's a lot of money to be made in the state through Labor Day.

    But he says it's causing student focus to decline by the time mid-June comes.

    Harness says he supports starting the school year sooner to better plan for weather and breaks. He adds that this would also help maintain productivity among students and staff if the year got too long.

    But the only way to get that early start in Michigan is to apply for a waiver, which Harness says has been denied in his district in past years.

    He says he believes it's because this is a time of year where the state makes a lot of money on tourism.

    Harness says he believes legislators are resisting the idea of allowing districts to decide start dates.

    The CEO of Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association says they're working to find a compromise with schools, but says it's also important for the state to bring in as many tourism dollars before the academic year starts.

    There are still plenty of school districts on board with starting after Labor Day. The Superintendent of South Haven Public Schools told us an early start would not benefit students.

    We're told the Van Buren Superintendent's Council is coming up with different models and programs to improve student learning within the current calendar.

    Still, a record number of districts were granted waivers to start early this year--including some in West Michigan.

    Harness says the district did not apply for a waiver this year. He says it would have been a waste of time.

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