PRVCA Lobbies for Later School Start
The Pennsylvania RV and Camping Association (PRVCA) will continue its lobbying efforts this fall at the state legislature for the Post Labor Day School Start bill.
The bill (HB 258) was voted out of the tourism committee in June and is expected to be discussed on the House floor this fall, according to the latest PRVCA newsletter.
PRVCA and other stakeholders will be meeting to put together a grassroots effort to engage those who visit Pennsylvania’s tourist spots in hopes to join states such as Virginia, Wisconsin and Michigan which require school districts to start classes after Labor Day.
PRVCA has contacted several state representatives expressing the importance of opening schools after the Labor Day holiday to the RV and camping industry. With RVing and camping playing a major role in the state’s tourism business, PRVCA is urging the legislators to pass HB 258 and allow families to extend their vacation season.
Opposition to the bill is coming from school boards, administrators and superintendents.
There is no starting date in the Pennsylvania Public School Code, so local school districts select the date. Currently, approximately 15% of school districts in the state already begin classes after Labor Day and have no trouble maintaining a high quality of education and ending the school year in early June, according to PRVCA.
Other key points of the proposed legislation include:
* HB 258 does not affect the 180-day education requirement and does not prevent school districts from having in-service days for teachers prior to Labor Day. Also, the bill does not apply to districts that are on a year-round education calendar.
* Many seasonal employees in tourism businesses are high school students. In today’s tight labor market, these businesses are finding it more difficult to staff their operations because of the number of high school students who return to classes prior to Labor Day. When schools open prior to Labor Day, tourism businesses and the state lose millions of dollars.
* HB 258 would benefit high school students by allowing them to earn more money and experience life lessons and practical education learned from an extended summer employment.
Mansfield University conducted a survey of Pennsylvania adults in March 2006 and found that 47% of respondents said they favor Post Labor Day school start legislation, while only 26% said they oppose it.
According to a study released by the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee, $378 million would be added to the state’s economy if schools began after Labor Day.