A perennial battle over whether schools should be allowed to begin classes prior to Labor Day surfaced in the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday.
Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, brought an amendment to the K-12 education finance bill that would prohibit school districts from starting before the traditional end-of-summer holiday. It passed with support from 18 other legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, mostly from outstate districts.
Anzelc argued that the ban on early school starts is vital for the tourism industry in his district. “The margins are thin in these businesses,” Anzelc said. “That would cause further difficulties.”
Supporters of the ban also cited the ability to visit the Minnesota State Fair as another reason for keeping it in place.
But others argued that allowing districts to extend the school year is vital to keeping schools competitive. “We are in a global race,” said Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul. “The states and nations that educate their kids better will win.”