A Minnesota House panel has rejected a bill to allow school districts the choice of starting classes before Labor Day for the next two school years. Labor Day falls late this year and in 2010.
School districts won't be able to start classes until Sept. 8 this year and Sept. 7 in 2010.
Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, sponsored the bill, saying school districts need the flexibility.
"This bill does not mandate an earlier start. It simply allows districts to make their own choice about what calendar works best for their students, their communities and their staff," Norton said.
But members of the House Finance Committee defeated the measure by a vote of 13-11. Opponents, like Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, argued that even a temporary change in the law would have a devastating impact on Minnesota's tourism industry at a time when businesses are already struggling because of the poor economy.
"If you stop families from spending Labor Day weekend out there in rural Minnesota at a resort, it's going to hurt those report owners. I don't think this is the right time to do it," said Rukavina.
When the same calendar situation arose several years ago, lawmakers passed a measure allowing school districts to start class before Labor Day if they chose.