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Indiana dealers pursue school start issue

Indiana – where basketball is sacred and a movement to return schools to a post-Labor Day start is gaining real momentum. And it should!Kudos to the members of the Indiana Marine Trades Association for making the school issue a priority in their legislative agenda. In fact, it’s been one of their goals for about six years! They’ve stuck with it and it’s likely their persistence will be paying off.

“We have advocated for years that if Indiana schools would go back to starting after Labor Day, it would be good for Indiana families, our boating industry and much more,” says Pat Casey, of Casey’s Cove Marina in Angola, Ind. Casey is the point man for IMTA on this quest. He and others testified last week before an interim Study Committee on Education conducted by Sen. Dennis Kruse ,who is also chairman of the Indiana Senate Committee on Education & Career Development.

Kruse has indicated he wants to introduce legislation calling for schools to open after Labor Day and close by Memorial Day, something that IMTA and nearly all others supported in testimony.

The negative impact of the swing to nontraditional school calendars — some starting as early as the first week of August, like Plano, Texas, for example — is finally being realized. In a 2007 market data study, a whopping 76 percent of all schools were now opening before Labor Day. In response, 11 states have already passed legislation to move the openings back to late August or after Labor Day. Texas has now passed legislation where its 1,033 school districts may not start prior to the fourth week of August.

Michigan was among the first to pass legislation mandating its 838 school districts begin classes after Labor Day. The Michigan Boating Industries Association was a vocal proponent of the change. The impact has been to extend family boating and vacation time, keep student workers employed longer, increase statewide tourism in August and put more than $10 million in additional tourism tax revenues into Michigan’s coffers!

Besides Indiana, it’s reported that Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, Iowa and Kentucky are all taking up the start date debate, pressured by parent organizations, tourism and recreational businesses, among others. In Indiana, for example, a broad-based coalition called “Save Indiana Summers” is in the hunt. A similar coalition is also active in Ohio.

According to Casey, at the Indiana hearing, “about 40 people or groups offered testimony and 35 of them were in favor. A Ft. Wayne TV call-in survey found 84 percent of the callers favored the idea. It’s finally grown into a real movement and I predict the Indiana General Assembly will move on it,” he added.

It’s a fact that the slide to earlier school openings has not been good for our boating businesses. No one needs to tell a marina operator what happens to activity once school starts! Now is the time to seek legislation in your state to put schools back on traditional startup schedules. Find out if there’s such a movement in your state, join it and work for a positive change.


3 comments on “Indiana dealers pursue school start issue

  1. Jim

    As a marina owner in Oklahoma in the early 1990’s, I was involved in just such a movement. I believe at the time I was either on the board or president of the Oklahoma Marina Association. This was a battle that I came out of scarred and bruised. I had all the research and documentation concerning economic impact, the furtility of trying to teach in 95 degree tempatures, without air conditioning, etc, etc. Fighting the teachers unions and the Department of Education proved to be a task we were not up to. Be prepared for things like “…we are mandated to teach X numbers of days a year so the only way to accomplish what you desire is that we take away the childrens Christmas vacation…” They did not mention the one week spring vacation, that was mostly for the teachers. Good luck in you endeavors.

  2. Boatman11

    This is getting our priorities straight.
    Worry more about the extra tourism and recreational business dollars that could be made instead of what is best for educating our kids in this competitive world.

    BTW….If anyone has noticed, our President is pushing to SHORTEN summer vacation time and Holiday time off because US kids are falling behind those in the rest of the world.

  3. Ed Fay

    Dear Save Indiana Summers Supporters – Fabulous news! The Indiana Chapter of NFIB has included the school start date issue on its 2013 ISSUE BALLOT. NFIB is a powerful voice for small businesses and one of the most democratic organizations involved in the legislative process. In order for the NFIB leadership to lobby on behalf of an issue, the issue must receive the support of their members. For the school start date issue to be included on the ballot is an honor in and of itself and shows the inroads we have made in getting folks to understand negative impact early-August school start dates have on students, teachers, school budgets, the economy, and job creation . We need the help of NFIB to pass school start date legislation in Indiana. Please help us earn the support of this important organization.

    Please help us keep our issue moving forward as we work to stop the ever earlier school start dates. Please, if you are a NFIB member, VOTE! If you are not a member, please forward the attached information sheet to anyone you know who may be.

    A copy of the PDF attached is embedded in this email for your review. The PDF attached includes hyperlinks to the data cited.

    Many thanks,

    Tina Bruno

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