Pre-Labor Day Start Fails

Concerns about Minnesota’s economy and the tourism industry led lawmakers to reject a proposal allowing public schools to start before Labor Day.

Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, proposed allowing school districts to begin their academic year anytime before Labor Day, so long as classes are not held on the Thursday and Friday before the Labor Day weekend.

Efforts to repeal the state’s post-Labor Day start have failed in recent years. Norton said her proposal offered schools flexibility.
Allowing school to start before Labor Day is a bad idea, some lawmakers said.

“The proposal is not just about “ma and pa resorts,” said Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji. “This is very much about our economy and this is not the time to be messing with the economy.”

Rep. Pat Garofalo, whose legislative district is in the southern Twin Cities metro, said Minnesota resorts rely on tourists from the Twin Cities.

“People up north need our citizens to visit them,” he said. Garofalo, R-Farmington, said a Bemidji resort owner convinced him to change his mind to support a post-Labor Day start.

House members rejected Norton’s amendment to an education spending bill on a 71-61 vote.