Kentucky senators have introduced a new bill, SB-50 that would “require schools to schedule the first student attendance day no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26, unless a school has adopted a year-round calendar.”
As I reported back in August of 2015, Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and Sen. Chris Girdler, R-Somerset had proposed such a bill to help extend the vacation season to bring more attention to the forthcoming Ark Encounter.
“Grant County is set to become a major tourist destination due to the presence of the Ark,” Thayer said. “But there won’t be many families from Kentucky visiting in August if we continue with the current calendar.”A 2008 Tennessee study estimated that if summer was extended through Labor Day, an additional $189 million would be generated in tourist spending.
“I’ve been mulling for about 10 years but a visit to Lake Cumberland last August really spurred me to decide to pursue it with Sen. Chris Girdler,” Thayer said. “Our parks are empty in August, except for a few visitors from places like Michigan and Indiana, which have much later school start dates.”
These politicians seem to care more about money generated in the state than they do about childhood education. School officials are not as excited by the bill.
School officials are not as excited by the bill.
“It may help tourism, however, I think it could potentially hurt many Kentucky children,” said Williamstown Elementary Principal David Poer. “I do not believe it will pass. If it does, most districts probably won’t like it. Just one more instance when government seeks to overstep their bounds. Again, this is a local issue and not a state or national issue.”
[Image: Ark Encounter, LLC]