Extended summer will help businesses - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Extended summer will help businesses

Lowndes County - It seems that school start dates are getting earlier and earlier each year, but some Georgia lawmakers want that to change.

House Bill 285 would require schools to start between the last Monday in August and Labor Day.

Every summer, Wild Adventures is packed with kids enjoying their summer breaks. But when they return to school earlier, the park's attendance suffers. "Tourism is the second largest industry in the state of Georgia, it takes a lot to maintain that business here," said Jetter.

The park's target audience is families with school-aged children. Expanding students' summer break would mean a huge increase in revenue. "When you have a winter vacation and its cold outside, you're not going to have as many families come out with their kids as in the summer time when the weather's warm and we have things like Splash Island open," said Sara Sumner.

Park officials say having periodic breaks throughout the school year makes it harder for families to plan their vacations. "Therefore, they may stay closer to home, they may not venture quite as far out and business that we could get from other states may have a harder time getting to Georgia," said Jetter.

Not only will starting school later increase this park's annual attendance, it will also help expand their workforce. "We rely very heavily on the students," said Jetter.

At least half of the park's summer employees are students. "If they're looking for work here, it gives them regular employment during a time in the summer when we really need the folks to handle the crowds," said Jetter.

Parents like Kevin Brown also support an extended summer break. He wants school systems to set one calendar, and stick with it. "If they'd just go with one year, just stay with the dates, I think we'd be a lot better off," said Brown.

Better off for parents, and for the local economy.

posted by ashley.harper@walb.com

 

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