Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Kinder signs school start bill

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder signed a bill in Branson Monday which requires Missouri school districts to open school no sooner than 10 days before Labor Day, unless they hold a public hearing and vote. Missourinet says:

Acting Governor Peter Kinder (R-MO) has signed a new law that gives the tourism industry more leverage over Missouri schools.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, whose district includes Branson, and as noted by The Turner Report on numerous occasions, including the Dec. 3, 2006 edition.

As I also noted in that post, Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, suddenly began publicly touting this bill, an occurrence which was accompanied by a flow of campaign cash from Branson interests:

Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, told school counselors attending a May meeting at the Southwest Center for Educational Excellence in Webb City that he supported a proposal to require school districts to start the school year after Labor Day, something that the tourism industry has pushed for years.
Nodler said school administrators had given him "no credible reason" why schools should start earlier than Labor Day.
While school administrators couldn't provide Nodler with a credible reason, Branson tourism industries found nearly three thousand of them, according to Nodler's quarterly campaign disclosure report filed today with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Out of $4,850 he reported receiving from donors during the past three months, $2,925 came from Branson interests, all of it on June 28, according to the report. Among those contributing were:
-$625 from American Council of Travel, Branson
-$200 from Denver Wood, Vacation Services of America, Branson
-$200 from Cindy Wood, Vacation Services of America, Branson
-$200 from Roark Travel Service Network, LLC, Branson
-$200 from Vacation Services of American, Inc., Branson
-$300 from Travel Access, Branson
-$200 from Thomas Wood, Vacation Services of America, Branson
-$200 from Deborah Wood, Vacation Services of America, Branson
-$200 from Crystal Hedrick, Vacation Services of America, Branson
-$200 from Brant Hedrick, Vacation Services of America, Branson


Anonymous said...

Would this bill go into effect for the 2007-08 school year?

Randy said...

No, this would take effect with the 2008-2009 school year.

Anonymous said...

And is going to be mandatory or up to the individual districts? I kind of like going early and getting out early.

Randy said...

This is not quite all that the tourism interests would like since it gives individual school districts the option to set the starting dates earlier. The major difference is the districts now have to announce a special public hearing each year to do this and have to vote on it annually. My guess is we have not seen the last of the efforts that will be made to make sure the tourism industry has plenty of student workers and several extra days to rake in tourists' dollars.