Are Increased Tax Dollars Worth a Delayed Start to the School Year?

As summer winds down and back-to-school routines start, have you ever wondered why some schools open in August and others wait until after Labor Day? Traditionally, school year start and end dates have varied depending on whether the school is located in a hot or cool climate or an urban versus rural area. However, as states have become less agricultural, school calendars across the country have shifted, but the reason still comes down to economics.

Although legislatures and school boards often cite student engagement and family values as the reasoning for delayed starts, some states that depend on summer tourism are more transparent. In Maryland, for example, legislative efforts encourage state residents to support a post-Labor Day start date, noting it would bring an extra $7.7 million in additional tax revenue. Similarly, Virginia claims there would be a loss of $369 million, which would include more than $104 million in wages and benefits lost if school were to begin before Labor Day. In Pennsylvania, a 2013 study found that the state would benefit by $378 million in direct net revenue from moving the school start date to after Labor Day.

Is a post-Labor Day start worth it? States that bank on tourist dollars and related tax revenues say yes, whereas some school educators disagree.

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