The Alabama legislature passed a bill that would require schools to increase their summer breaks. Supporters say it will bring in more tourism dollars, but some school officials say it will hurt children's education.
It sounds like great news to students.
"I think longer summers is okay for the students because it gives them more time for the summer," said Montgomery student, Dakota Christian.
The legislature approved a bill that would keep schools from starting more than two weeks before Labor Day and requiring them to end the school year before Memorial Day, while still completing 1,080 hours of instructional time.
"It gives school superintendents and school boards the most flexibility they can possibly have within the parameters of giving us that 12 week summer. They have 40 weeks in which to provide the 1,080 hours of instruction," said Tourism Consultant, Kim Adams.
If the bill is signed into law, Montgomery School Board President Charlotte Meadows says the superintendents' recommendation would be to reduce the calendar by eight days and tack on 20 minutes to each school day.
"For our middle school and high school students that's an extra three minutes per class and I'm just not sure that we are going to get a full lesson in, over the course of the year, or even eight full lessons in over the course of the year, by adding three minutes to each class," said Meadows.
The driving force behind it all is tourism and money.
Adams says studies indicate that this could create over $330-million per year for Alabama's economy, while benefiting the education and general fund budgets.
"To stop tourism's activity the first week of August is almost like saying we can't sell Christmas items two weeks before Christmas. It's an economic engine that is running in this state," said Adams.
Meadows is not so sure.
"I think they have the best interest of the financial picture at heart. That doesn't necessarily equate to the best interest to the students' education," said Meadows.
The bill was approved by the legislature, but it still has to go to Governor Robert Bentley to be signed into law.
The Governor's office released a statement about the bill saying, ""Governor Bentley has some concerns about HB360 because it restricts flexibility at the local level. The Governor will conduct a thorough review of this bill as passed and make a decision on whether to sign it in the coming days."