Killing the goose that lays the eggs — all of them.

Instead of “School leaders need a tourism lecture,” the sentence above — though it’s too long — could have been the headline of Mike Wagoner’s Sunday column in the News-Times.

He was writing about a proposal by two of the county’s seven-member Board of Education to start public school earlier than the General Assembly law specifying that school shall open on the Monday closest to Aug. 26.

The reason for this law is that starting school earlier than the date set by the General Assembly shortens summer vacation. And as Mr. Wagoner said: “Summer tourism adds millions of dollars to our local and state economies.”

Because reducing summer vacation time reduces family vacation time. Which severely impacts businesses that depend on summer vacationers.

This will eventually mean county property taxes will have to be raised because the tax receipts of businesses that cater to summer vacationers will be curtailed.

These businesses — hotels and motels and condominiums and houses that families rent for a few days, or a week or perhaps a month, along with restaurants and so many other businesses that depend on the summer vacation season — will see profits diminish. This holds true particularly for businesses on the coast and in the mountains, whether or not they’re in the tourism business.

The worst case scenario is many of these businesses that employ seasonal workers will fold. And there go the taxes.

Travis Day, school board chairman told the school administration to come up with a “modified year round calendar” allowing more flexibility, said News-Times staff writer Cheryl Burke at last Wednesday’s meeting.

Mr. Day, said Ms. Burke, said the calendar being used or being considered by a handful of other school systems “would allow the school year to start in early August and finish by Memorial Day” and allow students to take semester exams before the Christmas holidays.

“The calendar wouldn’t shorten the summer, but just shift the summer,” said Mr. Day. “It would not have students truly going year round. It would just be a shift in summer.”

Board member Kathryn Chadwick said the revised calendar would also allow students who graduate early to make a smoother transition into the community college system.

“Summer is summer,” wrote Mr. Wagoner. “You can’t just shift it around willy-nilly.”

Pointing out that 13 public school districts, representing 149 schools in the state “brazenly violated state law claiming their ‘optional summer school programs’ technically quality them as being ‘year-round,’” Mr. Wagoner said there are economic consequences when school districts decide to lop off one, two or even three weeks of the summer season. Indeed, there are!

If Carteret County implements a shortened summer vacation for its public school students, it will mean county property taxes will have to be raised. Because there will be shortfall in room taxes and taxes from businesses that depend on tourism.

Which Mr. Day and Ms. Chadwick obviously overlook. Or they aren’t concerned with this source of revenue.

They might ask business owners who are in the tourism business what they think, what would be the effect of a shortened vacation season.

Tourism is Carteret County’s main business. Tourism is the life blood of Carteret County. It used to be fishing, commercial fishing, and farming. Now it’s tourism.

Impact tourism and there will be huge economic consequences.

(14) comments

DrimeSon

This seems like a solution looking for a problem. Just read that Carteret County scored the highest in the state for test scores, what are we changing and why considering those results?

Can't help but agree with the Editor, these 2 Board Members aren't impacted monetarily. It's interesting to see how the fiscal conservative card was played on the Early College, but no foresight is given to business owners and the impact to the county's collection of room taxes considering. Also, operating costs would go up for the school system, while any decline in tax revenues from tourism would produce a net loss. overall. Not very fiscally conservative IMO....

dc

Like DrimeSon said since we have some of the best test scores in the state why change anything? Everything is data-driven nowadays so let's see the data.

DrimeSon

https://files.nc.gov/ncdor/documents/reports/table75_2016.pdf

So the new calendar law went into effect in 2013-2014. Looks like the occupancy tax jumped up by 1% that year, so a gain of 40-50K$ from the increase. One can only speculate that the $1.2Million increase, over the next two years, was a result of the consolidation of calendars statewide.

Osprey

Memorial Day to Labor Day is the traditional "summer" as far as tourism goes. One can argue for the beginning of June and another for the end of August. Either way it is still summer vacation time.

David Collins

At first read I thought that the students are being shifted about like pawns in order to serve the tourism dollar. Sure we have some tourists from N.C. but are not the majority from other states? Looking nationally, school schedules are all over the map. Can’t help but wonder about priorities and motivation, beyond what was stated, in all this. When you play around with school schedules it impacts far more than just the kids. Our boards of education, locally and in Raleigh are a bit out of control and have been for years. An open checkbook will do that. Another swamp that could use a bit of draining.

DeadBolt

And this should tell you all EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR PUBLIC EDUCATORS......... ESPECIALLY THEIR CHILD LIKE SIMPLETON MEETING POINTS! You folks really , honestly think these morons should dictate to your school's agenda? Please............... send them to Hardee's to flip burgers.

Bossymare

Maybe it should be what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Mast Early College High School started on August 7th, they are taking exams December 13, 16-18 and school will end on May 22 before the Memorial Day holiday. I don't think it should be a big deal for all students to have this schedule. Maybe the students and teachers should be asked what they want.

DrimeSon

right....because they take college courses [rolleyes]

Don't like the law..? Talk to your Raleigh legislator friends next time they are at the fundraiser you're hosting [wink]

TravisDay

Some of our current, traditional high school students would also like to be able to take college courses. But the current high school schedule makes it much difficult to do so (especially for CTE/trade classes at the community college, which begin in January, while high school students are unfortunately still enrolled in Fall semester classes).

I am not proposing to change our school calendar next year. But I did want to explore what other school systems are considering and to see what our calendar would look like under various options. It is my job to explore options that are best for our students. Unfortunately, what other school systems across the state feel is best for their students may be bad for our tourism-based community. And that worries me.

I would never propose a year-round calendar for our schools, but I am concerned that more and more schools are considering moving to or have already moved to some form of a year-round calendar. I would support legislation which allows for a 2-week shift in our current summer vacation and allows our fall semester to end before Christmas. I think such a compromise would be better for our students AND better for our community, because I believe it would help stop the trend towards year-round schools across the state. I believe it is possible to meet the calendar needs of schools while still preserving summer vacations.

For more details, visit travisday.com/calendar.

DeadBolt

If the position is that what others are going to do affects tourism here, there is nothing you can do to stop them, and since this county has moved to a strictly tourism base , all eggs in one basket, policy, i do not see how confusing the school year here is going to help? ie: our children are not tourists here, and if they have friends in other school districts that start earlier, or go year round, thats just reality.

(Edited by staff.)

dc

Thanks for the explanation Travis. The move toward year-around schools is likely due to studies showing year-around students out performing those on the traditional schedule.

dc

Too many people wanting too many changes causing too many scheduling changes and issues. Could just let everybody do whatever their heart desires as long as they pay it but that ain't gonna happen.

DeadBolt

I simply do not grasp the concept that children in Carteret County being in school 1 day, or a week earlier will affect Tourism in the same county???????????? What, are they going to close their collective businesses?

David Collins

If businesses are getting by on that thin of a margin, perhaps they need to close. Something about this article has a scent about it. Perhaps another motive at work here. Just a thought brought on by pretty much nothing is what it seems these days.

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