Carl Wilgus, president and CEO of Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB) addressed the Pleasant Valley School District board of directors as a representative of a coalition of people who were in favor of a post-Labor Day school opening, of which PMVB is one.
He wanted PV to consider a post Labor Day school opening, at least for the next three years, 2012, 2013 and 2014 because Labor Day will fall on Sept. 3, Sept. 2, and Sept. 1, consecutively.
He is currently visiting all school districts in the Pocono Mountains region to plead this cause.
He referred to a 2006 study done by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee showing how starting school before Labor Day has an economic effect in Pennsylvania.
"It has a $378 million negative economic impact on the state. This is unrealized spending by residents and non-residents who cannot take a vacation that last week in August. It results in the lost of 2,348 jobs which equates to a loss of $17.7 million in state tax revenue.
Students and teachers lose in their ability to work a summer job during that last week in August. This also includes bonuses often provided by employers for employees who work the entire summer season," he said.
In an October 2011 statewide survey conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research, when asked about "when school should begin," respondents indicated they preferred an after Labor Day opening by a margin of 2-1.
Wilgus said that the Wallenpaupack Area School District has always begun school the day after the Labor Day holiday. He gave a list of the Greater Pocono Chamber of Commerce, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, Wallenpaupack Area School District, Representative Mario Scavello and Representative Rosemary Brown of those who support a post Labor Day school opening.
Wilgus told the board that he asked a school administrator why school should begin before Labor Day and he was told it was because the schools needed the time to prepare for the PSSAs (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) tests.
"August is the most important month for the Pocono Mountains," Wilgus said.
Later in the meeting, the PVSD board of directors approved the 2012-2013 school year calendar with a 5-3 vote. Director Harvey Frable was absent. Directors James Spinola, Dominick Sacci and Steve Borger voted "no." The first day of school for the 2012-2013 school year will be Aug. 27.