Friday, February 06, 2009

When You're Talking About the Labor Day Start, It's Always Labor. The House K-12 Policy and Oversight Committee conducted its annual discussion of the Labor Day start on Thursday morning. Representative Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), shown on the right, has two bills dealing with the Labor Day start, one which eliminates it and the other that gives districts a two-year exemption and authorizes a study of the economic effects of allowing school districts to start prior to Labor Day.

The discussion took its usual course, with both sides making their respective cases. Schools argue that given the need for greater levels of student contact and the desire to end school earlier in the year to provide for an earlier start to summer school, starting school before Labor Day is warranted. Further, school districts believe that the state's dictation of a "no earlier than" starting date is a usurpation of local control by the state and that school districts should be able to follow the wishes of their communities in the determination of the school starting date.

The resort industry (along with the State Fair) argue that starting school before Labor Day would cause a crimp in their business and during times of economic downturn, a number of resorts' bottom lines could be adversely affected to a fatal extent if current law--which prevents schools from opening before Labor Day without specific legislative authority--were repealed. Shown at the left is a representative of the family-owned resort industry who spoke with passion regarding his assertion that the bill would have a negative effect on the resort and tourism industries. Representative Norton stands at his right while additional lobbyists whose organizations oppose the bill wait to testify.

The bill--which calls for a two-year exemption from the pre-Labor Day start prohibition and commissions a study--passed the committee on a voice vote and will now head to the Higher Education and Workforce Development Finance and Policy Division. That division is chaired by Representative Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia) and the bill will be scrutinized closely there.

I will keep you posted.

Remember Betty McCollum Event on Monday. Just another reminder that AMSD has been kind enough to invited all education interests to attend the forum with Betty McCollum that they will be hosting on Monday, February 9. The event runs from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM in the Grand Hall at the TIES Building located at 1667 North Snelling Avenue (the southwest corner of Snelling and Larpenteur).
With all of the hubbub regarding the proposed stimulus package, Representative McCollum is in a position to give up-to-the-minute information regarding the House's bill and things that may be happening in the Senate. The Senate appears to be poised to chop the IDEA and Title I money contained in the House version of the bill out of the Senate position, which will make the conference committee proceedings very interesting.
This is your opportunity to hear pertinent information firsthand on federal legislation firsthand and we don't get that opportunity very often. RSVP to AMSD at 651-999-7325 or e-mail

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