March 6, 2012 —
WESTFALL, PA — Local tourism officials have asked the Delaware Valley School District to consider delaying the opening of school next fall until after Labor Day in order to support the local economy and give high school students and teachers an extra week of work.
Carl Wingus, president and CEO of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau (PMVB), a non-profit agency that covers tourism in Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties, requested that the school districts in the Pocono Mountains change their school calendar.
“Historically, schools in the Pocono Mountains region did not start the school year until after Labor Day,” he said.
According to a 2006 study by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, by starting school before Labor Day, the state loses nearly $400 million in unrealized revenue, 2,348 jobs are cut, and there is a loss of almost $18 million in state income.
“The Pocono Mountains is a tourism-dependent region and requires seasonal assistance to support the business community,” Wingus said. “Many area students and teachers provide the necessary labor force during the popular vacation time of year.”
Anthony Manzione, director of human resources for Woodloch, Inc., said half of their revenue is dependent on the summer months with the last two weeks earning their biggest revenue.
“We lose around 125 staff because students and teachers must return back to school before Labor Day,” he said. “We cannot offer all the programs to our guests because our staff has to leave to go back to school.”
Davis Chant of Chant Realtors said he hears from many local business owners that they lost 20 percent of their revenue when students and teachers return to school before Labor Day weekend.