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New bill would allow Michigan schools to start before Labor Day

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A bill in the state Senate would scrap a 2006 Michigan law that stops schools from starting before Labor Day.

Under Michigan law, public schools aren't allowed to start classes before Labor Day.

A bill recently approved by the state Senate Education Committee would change that.

Under the new legislation, districts would be allowed to start school in August. But the bill would also require that those schools have three-day weeks until after Labor Day.

Senator Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy) is a bill sponsor. He said schools should have the option to start when they want.

"I think we need to allow our school districts to decide for themselves what's best for themselves," Knollenberg said.

The post-Labor Day requirement was originally put in place to help Michigan's tourism industry. 

Knollenberg said the proposed three-day school week is a fair compromise that would allow students and their families to keep traveling through August.

"It gives the locals a little more control as to when they can start their school year, and at the same time, it gives the tourism industry the four-day weekend," he said.

Critics of the bill say beginning the school year before Labor Day would hurt Michigan's tourism industry and be a logistical inconvenience for parents.