Thursday, April 30, 2009

Question of the Day

Labor Day falls late this year, on September 7, so back-to-school will come early, on August 31. But what about all of those kids with summer jobs who would exodus early, long before the last tourist has headed home? Here's the story. If you were calling the shots, would you start school on Sept. 8 or August 31?


  1. This could be a big problem for some of the smaller businesses too who depend on kids for summer help through labor day.

  2. Maybe there are solutions other than opening school later. Here's the editorial tentatively scheduled for Friday's Press:

    Work together
    on school schedules

    Time for a little teamwork between North Idaho school districts and businesses.
    With public school calendars now being set for the next year, the tourism industry realizes that many classes will be back in session before the last big week of a critical commercial season. We call it a critical commercial season because, after this dire winter, many of our businesses need a bountiful summer to make up for mounting losses.
    These are primarily tourism-related businesses, but not exclusively. Many other retailers benefit from the people that hotels and summertime attractions draw to our area.
    Hotels, water parks and giant theme park Silverwood all depend heavily upon high schoolers for an employment base. But it works both ways: Many of our region’s kids would have no way to make money and develop a strong work ethic without the summer tourism trade.
    While most of these jobs don’t require high skill levels or extensive training, neither are they the kind of work where anybody can walk in off the street and pick up the reins somebody else just dropped. Would you want your kids watched by untrained life guards, or your food handled by somebody who had zero restaurant experience?
    Already, Coeur d’Alene School District is answering the call, indicating it will start classes after the Labor Day weekend ending Sept. 7. District officials, fresh off a smashing victory on its supplemental levy request, say it’s only fair that schools reward the individuals and businesses that support them so strongly.
    There may be other creative solutions for Lakeland and Post Falls districts if they choose not to start the year later. Giving working students extra time to make up missed assignments is one; working out schedules of half days in school, half days at work the first week of the school year is another.
    While not universally true, many of the kids who work hardest in summer are the same ones who work hardest the rest of the year, in the classroom. We hope district officials can find ways not to penalize them, or their employers, when a strong peak season for a vital local industry is needed most.

  3. Back when things were perfect (when I was in school in the '60s), schools in this area started around the 25th of August and high school graduation was the last week in May. Tourism was as important then as it is now. Businesses found people to work or adapted. Life was could be again...start school earlier in the year (a week or two before Labor Day) and get out earlier (the week of Memorial Day). Students involved in activities have already headed back to school in early early, this affects their families and friends and places of employment. Students are ready to head back earlier and they should.

  4. I remember the 4-H kids getting to be out of school during the NI Fair until the fair was moved to August a few years ago. And back in the 1960's tourism here amounted to a bunch of Canadians coming to celebrate the Queen's birthday right around the 4th of July and a couple of days of hydroplane races. Timber and mining ruled the economic day, not tourism.