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Ohio Parks Fear Longer School Year

February 2, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Adding four weeks to Ohio’s school year will create a shorter summer travel season and hurt everyone from big amusement parks to family run campgrounds, those in the travel industry say.
Some argue that the proposal for an extended school year announced last week by Gov. Ted Strickland will cost jobs and shrink tax revenue at a time when the state can’t afford it, according to the Lancaster Eagle Gazette.
“This is going to hit them in the pocketbook,” said Paige Alost, head of the Athens County Visitors Bureau in southeast Ohio. “For us tourism is a major economic factor, not just in the county but in our region.”
Tourism has been a growth industry too, generating $38 billion for Ohio in 2007. That’s up by $10 billion since 2003.Strickland’s goal of adding 20 days to the school year is just one piece of his plan to overhaul Ohio’s public schools and increase learning in the classroom.
School districts will be able to determine when to add the extra days that will be phased in over the next decade, said Amanda Wurst, a spokeswoman for the governor. “There will be flexibility,” she said.
So far, there are few other details about the changing school calendar and how much it will cost to pay teachers and operate buildings over four additional weeks.
Strickland mentioned the proposal to add 20 days to the school year during his Jan. 28 State of the State speech.
Michigan went the opposite way in 2006, when the Legislature began requiring that schools delay the start of classes until after Labor Day. Tourism interests said the law would help squeeze out more dollars for the industry.

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