A proposal to eliminate a required September 1st start date for the school year is raising concerns from Wisconsin's tourism industry.
Wisconsin Tourism Federation administrator Julia Hertel says the legislation could hurt the industry by shortening the length of the season and taking away some of its workforce. Hertel says many seasonal attractions count on having high school kids for part of their staff, and having them back in school before Labor Day could make it harder to meet the needs of their visitors.
Hertel says August is a big month for tourism in Wisconsin, and many families count on having the whole month open. She says several neighboring states have laws similar to Wisconsin's, and many of their residents are visiting attractions here during the end of August.
School districts say the change is needed to give them more flexibility when planning out their calendar for the year. Events such as snow days can often push off the end of the school year for many districts, resulting in classes that last through the first few weeks of June. Schools are required to be in session 180 days out of the year.
However, Hertel says districts already have options beyond adding full days to the calendar, such as getting rid of institute days, having class on a weekend, or adding extra time to the school day.