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School Calendar-Related Reports By Academics and Other Professionals

Watch this space for testimony and reports to school boards 
and other government bodies on school calendar issues.

We welcome contributions to this site from academics and professionals who have presented reports with research and information in opposition to calendar proposals that shrink summer vacation for schoolchildren. Drop us an e-mail note about your report to: bussardre@aol.com

                         __________________

The following report from the University of South Carolina documents the devastating economic impact of  school calendar change, especially early school start dates, to communities and states, especially those that rely on summer business. 

South Carolina Early School Start Dates 
and the South Carolina
Travel & Tourism Industries
 

An Analysis of Economic & Tax Revenue Impacts

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report by:

Stephen C.  Morse, Ph.D.
Economist

School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Ph: (803) 7773458

e-mail:  smorse@sc.edu

University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC

September 2002

 

Executive Summary

South Carolina Early School Start Dates and the South Carolina
Travel and Tourism Industries

 

 

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this report is to examine the effects and impacts of early school start dates in South Carolina on the Travel and Tourism economy of the State.

Findings of the Study

ü     South Carolina public schools have begun earlier and earlier in August, taking away up to 3 weeks of summer August vacation time from families with children in South Carolina public schools.

ü     Early school start dates shorten the August vacation season in South Carolina and is associated with decreased August tourism demand, costing the State’s largest industry – tourism – millions in lost economic activity and millions in lost State and local tax revenues.

ü     Early school start dates in South Carolina are associated with lower August tourist business activity including decreased August hotel occupancy rates, decreased August State and local accommodations taxes generated, decreased State and local sales tax generated, and decreased August employment in tourist areas.

ü     Decreased August tourist activity as schools start earlier, is not off-set by increases in tourist activity in other summer months.

ü     Starting schools in August mean schools must cool facilities for children during the hottest month of the year - August, costing unnecessary utility expenses by starting early, as opposed to starting after Labor Day in September.

ü     One conservative scenario estimates economic and tax revenue impacts where as little as 4 out of 10 families with children in South Carolina take one additional vacation if August summer vacation were restored; plus induced additional families from in-state and out-of-state family vacations, would generate $180 million in total economic impact, $6.03 million is State tax revenues, $2.34 million in local tax revenues, and $8.37 million in total State and local tax revenues.

South Carolina Early School Start Dates and the South Carolina
Travel and Tourism Industries

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this report is to examine the effects and impacts of early school start dates in South Carolina on the Travel and Tourism economy of the State. In August 2002, the South Carolina Department of Education requested Dr. Steve Morse, economist and professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at the University of South Carolina, conduct an impact study to examine the effects of early school start dates on the State’s travel and tourism industry.

Background

In 2002, the South Carolina state legislature examined the possibility of establishing a uniform school start date for SC public schools.  To examine the issue further, the legislature directed the SC Department of Education to establish a task force.  The SC legislative bill establishing the task force is below:

          “Section 59-5-71.  The General Assembly declares that it is in the best interest of the students of South Carolina for a uniform beginning date for the annual school term to be developed and adopted by the State Board of Education to be implemented in all public schools of the State.  Therefore, the State Board of Education is directed to establish a task force comprised of superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, school board members, and representatives of business and industry, including tourism-related industries no later than July 1, 2002.  The task force to the fullest extent possible shall be equally divided among proponents of existing or earlier starting dates for schools, proponents of later starting dates for schools, including proponents for dates after Labor Day, and persons who legitimately have no preferences.  The task force shall make recommendations to the board including, but not limited to, the desirability of and if agreed upon a suggested uniform beginning date for the annual school term.  The task force shall report its findings to the State Board of Education no later than October 15, 2002.” (Source: SC State Legislature & SC Department of Education)

History of South Carolina School Start Dates

The table below shows South Carolina public school start dates for nine academic years from 94-95 to 02-03.  The average school start date has become earlier in August from a 1994 average of August 20 to a 2002 average of August 11.  The earliest start data in 1994 was August 16, and in 2002 earlier at August 5.

South Carolina Public School

Start Dates, 1994 - 2002

Academic Year

Average School Start Date

Latest School Start Date

Earliest School Start Date

94-95

Aug. 20

Aug. 26

Aug. 16

95-96

Aug. 19

Aug. 28

Aug. 10

96-97

Aug. 17

Sept. 3

Aug.  9

97-98

Aug. 17

Sept. 2

Aug. 11

98-99

Aug. 14

Aug. 24

Aug. 6

99-00

Aug. 15

Sept. 7

Aug. 5

00-01

Aug. 11

Aug. 21

Aug. 3

01-02

Aug. 12

Aug. 20

Aug. 6

02-03

Aug. 11

Aug. 26

Aug. 5

Source: SC Dept. of Education

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early School Start Dates and Statewide Tourism Demand

 

Text Box:  As South Carolina school start dates have been earlier and earlier since 1997, more and more of the August vacation season has been lost.  In 1997 the earliest school start date was August 11, while in 2002 the earliest school start date was August 5.  Below, the South Carolina statewide hotel and lodging occupancy rates are shown for August and May over a five-year period from 1997 to 2001.  The data indicate that since schools starts dates have become earlier and more of the August summer vacation season is lost, August hotel occupancy rates have decreased statewide. 

In addition, less summer vacation opportunity in August and lower August hotel occupancy rates statewide are reflected in the 2% State Accommodations Tax revenue collected.  In particular, the graphs below shows that since 1997, August state tax revenue generated from the 2% accommodations taxes have decreased.

Since 1997, August statewide 2% accommodations taxes have deceased.

Text Box:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Box:

 

% share summer hotel taxes

 
Below, August percent share of summer hotel taxes decrease while June & July share increases. Total summer hotel taxes equal June + July + August taxes generated. Less vacation time for SC residents is associated with decreasing share of August hotel taxes generated.

The graph below shows the change in attendance from month to month at SC amusement and theme parks.  In 2001, attendance at SC amusement and theme parks decreased by the largest percent (13%) in August.  This decrease in attendance also results in less SC admissions tax revenues not generated by this decreased August attendance.

Text Box:

 

 

Early School Start Dates and Coastal Tourism Demand

 

Coastal areas of South Carolina generate the majority of tourism demand.  Of all visitors to South Carolina in 2000, coastal areas generated 64% of all visitors, the midlands 19%, and the upstate 17% (Source: SC PRT).  This section examines the relationship between early school start dates and effects on tourism in coastal areas of South Carolina.

Since 1997, hotel occupancy rates in Myrtle Beach for August and May have decreased. 

Text Box:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horry County generates the largest share of the 2% hotel tax in the State.  However, since 1997 the August percent contributed to the Horry County yearly total has decreased.

Text Box:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hotel occupancy rates for SC, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, and Charleston are shown below from 1997 – 2001 for May, June July, August and September.

South Carolina hotel occupancy rates,

May – Sept., 1997 – 2001

Month

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

May

66.2%

64.8%

63.7%

64.2%

61.5%

June

68.4%

69.5%

68.5%

70.3%

66.2%

July

72.7%

73.6%

73.8%

70.4%

67.3%

August

70.7%

67.9%

64.7%

62.8%

60.7%

Sept

59.5%

63.5%

57.0%

57.3%

51.3%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Myrtle Beach hotel occupancy rates,

May – Sept., 1997 – 2001

 Month

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

May

69.5%

66.6%

64.8%

64.2%

61.2%

June

73.3%

75.4%

74.9%

78.2%

70.4%

July

83.3%

83.6%

85.3%

84.2%

79.9%

August

81.1%

73.2%

71.3%

68.5%

68.2%

Sept

64.8%

64.2%

55.9%

58.2%

52.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hilton Head Island hotel occupancy rates,

May – Sept., 1997 – 2001

 Month

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

May

73.5%

75.8%

73.2%

74.9%

69.8%

June

74.8%

80.6%

76.4%

83.4%

81.2%

July

77.1%

83.4%

83.4%

81.1%

75.1%

August

77.1%

74.9%

70.8%

70.6%

66.3%

Sept

66.4%

67.4%

52.8%

64.6%

46.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charleston hotel occupancy rates,

May – Sept., 1997 – 2001

 Month

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

May

80.3%

80.5%

74.2%

77.7%

73.7%

June

76.1%

77.7%

74.9%

77.9%

72.2%

July

73.3%

78.6%

75.6%

73.1%

67.6%

August

73.7%

76.8%

64.8%

70.9%

63.0%

Sept

67.1%

76.5%

58.3%

69.5%

54.9%

 

 

 

 

 

·        Statewide, August hotel occupancy rates have decreased 10% since 1997.

 

 

 

 

·        Myrtle Beach hotel occupancy rates for August have decreased 12.9% since 1997.

 

 

 

·        Hilton Head Island hotel occupancy rates for August have decreased 10.8% since 1997.

 

 

 

·        Charleston hotel occupancy rates for August have decreased 10.7% since 1997.

   

Do early school start dates mean SC tourists shift summer vacation times from August to other months? No.  Statewide, the decrease in August occupancy rates since 1997 have not been off-set by gains in other summer months.  For example, from 1997 to 2001 SC August occupancy rates decreased by 10% while occupancy rates for May, June, July and September did not increase. 

Thus statewide, there is no trade-off from lower August occupancy rates and higher rates in other summer months indicating there is no shifting in tourism visitor patterns from early school start dates.  The same patterns follow no shifting of vacation time from August to other months for Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, and Charleston.

Below, the August share of summer hotel taxes have been decreasing since 1997 and not off-set by June and July taxes generated, indicating August lost vacation time is associated with lower August business activity.

 

Text Box:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below, Horry County’s August share of July + August hotel taxes have decreased since 1996.

Text Box:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unemployment Trends

Since 1998, August unemployment in Horry County has increased.  This effect is in August and reflects the decreased tourist demand and reduced business activity.

Text Box:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August Horry County unemployed workers have increased 40% from 1998 to 2001, indicating decreased business activity in the county.

 

Text Box:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shorter August Summer Vacation Season and Tourism Attractions

In public hearings held in August 2002 in South Carolina by the SC Department of Education’s Uniform Start Date Task Force Committee, several tourist business owners and operators expressed how the shortened August summer vacation season has impacted employment, revenues and seasonal openings.

Mark Lazarus, owner of water theme park attractions in Horry County, SC and Myrtle Beach area said opening schools in SC earlier in August has caused many of his businesses to close early in the season because decreased tourist demand, and decreased labor supply of high school students. Mr. Lazarus said closing his water parks early affects less payroll in the county, less opportunities for meaningful employment for youth, less opportunities for businesses making contributions to local schools, and less sales and amusement taxes generated.

Jodie Roberts Smith, public relations manager with Carowinds theme parks in York County, SC told representatives of the task force that all other theme parks owned by Carowinds in other states have a 12-week summer season.  Ms. Smith said that as a result of early school start dates, Carowinds in York County, SC operates with a reduced summer season of only 10-weeks.  This reduced summer season generated approximately an extra 100,000 visitors, causing over $300,000 less in payroll for youth, and generated less sales taxes and admissions taxes that go to fund education.

Mr. Gary Loftus, hotelier and past president of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce claimed that when school started in August, vacationers throughout South Carolina decrease by two-thirds after August 10.  In addition, he said hotel room rates decrease by 25% - 40% because of the lower demand in August after schools open.

Although other business owners and managers of tourist attractions stated the shortened August summer vacation season negatively affected revenues, employment and taxes, the key point is that early school start dates negatively impact South Carolina’s largest industry – tourism.

Economic Impact from Families with School Children

With schools starting earlier in August, summer vacation time for South Carolina families have been shortened.  Less summer vacation time means less economic impact from SC residents traveling in the State. 

To measure the economic impact on early school starts on SC residents with children attending public schools, the number of potential family vacations lost must be estimated.  In 2001, there were 669,342 children in South Carolina public schools.  Using an average of two children per family, these children represent approximately 334,671 families with school children in the State. 

Using average travel patterns reported by surveys from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SC-PRT), in-state residents take 36% of their trips as day-trips, and the remaining 64% as overnight travelers in the State.  The SC-PRT also estimates that in-state tourists spend an average of $122.17 per trip per party when traveling; while in-state overnighter travelers are estimated to spend $362.62 per trip per party.  Both estimates exclude transportation costs, assuming day-trippers have $20 transportation cost and overnighters have $75 transportation costs, this would estimate day-trippers spending to be $142.17 per trip per party, and overnighters spending to be $437.62.

The following table shows the economic impact of potential spending by South Carolina families with school children.  The analysis uses a range of 10% of families taking one additional vacation to 100% of families taking one additional vacation.  Using the patterns of average SC residents traveling in-state described above, day-trip and overnight tourist spending is estimated.  The total amount of tourist spending by SC families is direct spending in the SC economy, which when re-spent provides a multiplier effect or indirect spending generated.  This study uses a multiplier of 2.3 for the statewide indirect effect and is reflected in the total economic impact in column 5.  The multiplier of 2.3 is considered a modest multiplier that in some areas can be as high as 3.0 in estimating re-spending effects.

Economic Impact of Potential Vacation Spending by

South Carolina Families with School Children

(Col 1)

If this percent

of SC families with

 school children

 took 1 additional

SC vacation…

(Col 2)  

Then spending

from day-trip

travelers would be…

(Col 3)    

And  spending

From overnight

 travelers would be…

(Col 4)       

And total

(day + overnight)

direct spending

would be…

(Col 5)          

Having a total

(direct + indirect)

economic impact

of this much

 spending generated

in the SC economy…

10%

$1,712,881

$9,373,330

$11,086,211

$25,489,283

20%

3,425,772

18,746,660

22,172,432

50,996,593

30%

5,138,643

28,119,990

33,258,633

76,494,855

40%

6,953,887

38,053,474

45,007,361

103,516,193

50%

8,564,406

46,866,651

55,431,057

127,494,131

60%

10,277,287

56,239,981

66,517,268

152,989,714

70%

11,990,168

65,613,311

77,603,479

178,488,007

80%

13,703,049

74,986,642

88,689,691

203,986,283

90%

15,415,930

84,359,972

99,775,902

229,484,576

100%

17,128,863

93,733,582

110,862,440

254,983,610

 

 

Background Information on Tax Revenue Impacts

 

State Sales Tax

 

South Carolina levies a 5% State sales tax on most good and services in the hospitality and tourism industry including food in restaurants, lodging, and shopping purchases which make up most spending by in-state tourists.

State Accommodations Taxes

South Carolina levies 2% tax on the price of accommodations (hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts) in addition to the State sales tax of 5%.  Tourist spending estimated to be allocated to hotels and other lodging equal 36% of spending.  Therefore, State accommodations taxes are estimated based on 36% of total tourist spending allocated to hotels and lodging expenses.

State Admissions Tax

South Carolina levies a 5% admission tax on most events and theme parks .

State Income Taxes

The maximum State income tax rate is 7% on income over $12,000 and declining percentages with lower incomes.  Because many employees are seasonal, a lower income tax rate of 6% is used here.  The 6% tax rate is used on the portion of tourist spending that reflects labor costs, here assumed to be 35% of spending.

State Beverage Alcohol Taxes

Taxes generated by sales of beer, wine and spirits to tourist are generated as a State tax revenue source for South Carolina.  It is difficult to estimate these taxes, but increased tourism demand will certainly increase tax revenues generated from the sale on on-premise and off-premise sales.  The tax revenue generated from these beverage alcohol sales are not included in this study.

State Corporate Income Taxes

South Carolina corporate income tax is 5%, however the contribution of corporate income taxes are not included here as this information is not readily defined or available from the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

Local Taxes

South Carolina allows counties and municipalities to add on sales and accommodations taxes to required state taxes.  Local taxes are retained locally for local spending projects and to help support local education.  For this study, local tax rates of 3% is used to estimate local tax revenues which include an additional 2% local accommodations tax and 1% local sales tax.

State and Local Tax Revenues Generated

State & Local Tax Revenues Generated per year by Vacation Spending of South Carolina Families with School Children

 

State Tax Revenues Generated per year

Local Taxes Generated per year

Total State + Local Taxes Generated per year

(Col 1)

If this percent

of SC families with

school children

took 1 additional

SC vacation per year

(Col 7)

Then this

much

in State

accommo-dation

tax revenue

will be

generated per year

 

(Col 8)

Then this much

in State sales & admissions taxes will be generated per year

(Col 9)

Then this much

in State income taxes will be generated per year

(Col 10)

Then this much

In total State taxes will be generated per year

(Col 11)

Then this much

in local

accommo-dations and sales taxe revenu

will be generated per year

 

(Col 12)

Then this much

In total state & local

taxes will be

generated per year

 

10%

$67,487

$554,310

$232,810

$854,607

$332,586

$1,187,193

20%

134,975

1,108,621

465,821

1,709,417

665,172

2,374,589

30%

202,246

1,662,931

698,431

2,563,608

997,758

3,561,366

40%

273,985

2,250,368

945,154

3,469,507

1,350,220

4,819,727

50%

337,439

2,771,552

1,164,052

4,274,043

1,662,931

5,936,974

60%

404,927

3,325,863

1,396,862

5,127,652

1,995,518

7,123,170

70%

472,415

3,880,173

1,629,673

5,982,261

2,328,104

8,310,365

80%

539,903

4,434,484

1,862,483

6,836,870

2,660,690

9,497,560

90%

607,391

4,988,795

2,095,293

7,691,479

2,993,277

10,684,756

100%

674,881

5,543,122

2,328,111

8,546,114

3,325,873

11,871,987

               

The following table estimates State and local tax revenues generated from one additional vacation from portions of SC families with school children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Additional Tourism Spending by Other In-state and Out-of-state Tourists

Restoration of the full August summer vacation season will not only increase demand from in-state SC families with children, but also will increase demand from other tourists inside and outside the state.  With the lost August vacation period  restored, more SC tourist related businesses will stay open as the supply of labor is not reduced when school opens.  At public hearings, business owners from across the state said early August school starts drained youth employment and forced businesses to close early during August by up to three weeks. Water Parks in Myrtle Beach and amusement theme parks in York County reported shorter August seasons as a result in early August school start dates.

Myrtle Beach tourism officials report tourist activity decreases substantially during the last three weeks of the August.  Beginning August 10th, Myrtle Beach tourism officials estimate tourists and vacationers decrease by approximately two-thirds.  In Myrtle Beach, lower tourism demand in August is reflected in the decrease in August hotel occupancy rates, decreased accommodations taxes collected in Horry County for August, decrease in hotel room rates as demand is lower, higher worker unemployment rates and the early closing of many tourist related businesses in August.  In addition, Myrtle Beach tourism officials say both in-state and out-of-state tourist decreases from 300,000 to 240,000 visitors per day after August 10th each year because of early school openings.  This decrease in tourists by 60,000 per day includes both in-state and out-of-state tourists to the area and is estimated to produce a loss of $178 million to the Grand Strand area.  Myrtle Beach tourist officials state that if this pattern is true across South Carolina, statewide the State could be losing up to $400 million per year from both in-state and out-of-state  lost tourist revenues from the shorter August vacation season.

Estimating the impact of increased tourist demand from additional in-state and out-of-state tourist is difficult.  Also, South Carolina tourist destinations may embark on new marketing campaigns that increase demand from in-state and out-of-state tourist. One method would assume August tourist activity levels in hotels, restaurants, retail shopping areas and attractions would not decease as they do now in August, but be maintained at July levels.  Restoration of the full August vacation season to will increase demand for tourism is South Carolina from in-state and out-of-state tourists.  Increasing the August tourist season by two weeks will have a substantial impact on state and local revenues generated by this additional tourism period.

 

Weather and Heat Related Factors of Early School Openings

Early school starts in August instead of early September, place children into schools during the hottest month of the year.  The weather related trade-off to be examined is children starting school during the hottest time of the year the last three weeks in August, and ending school during the cooler weather time of the last three weeks in May.  Therefore, the temperature issue of August vs. May must be examined in terms of energy demand during these periods.

From the following table of average maximum temperatures in selected South Carolina cities, August has an average higher temperature than May across all cities shown.  Energy costs are difficult to determine as each school district has different energy suppliers and different energy rates.  Although a detailed estimate of energy costs in August vs. May requires more data and individual district energy costs during these months, clearly the higher temperatures in August will cost more to cool schools than the lower temperatures in May.

 

 

May & August Average Maximum Temperatures for SC Cities

 

 

South Carolina City

Average Maximum Temp

(ºF) 1971 - 2000

 

May

August

 

Columbia

83.6

90.3

 

Beaufort

83.1

88.8

 

Charleston

83.0

89.2

 

Clemson

79.4

87.9

 

Conway

82.3

89.1

 

Florence

82.9

89.4

 

Greenville

79.2

87.0

 

Orangeburg

83.7

90.3

 

Rock Hill

80.1

87.9

Source:  SC State Climatologist &

National Weather Service

 

             

A Sample Scenario of Impacts

Estimating additional tourist spending and associated tax revenue impacts into a prediction of tourist behavior with restoration of the August vacation season required assumptions about the level of tourist activity with an extended August season.  However, in the absence of unbiased surveys of tourist propensity of additional vacation travel, one can use previous impacts to predict results of a variety of scenarios.

For example, assuming 4 out of 10 South Carolina families with children in public would take an additional vacation with the restoration of the August vacation season and later school start dates, one can estimate the potential economic and tax revenue impacts from this behavior. Also, if one assumes the additional tourist activity from other in-state and out-of-state tourists during August would increase by an amount equivalent to the level of families with school children, an estimation of potential economic and tax revenue impact under this scenario can be made.

If this amount of additional tourist activity is generated..

Then total economic impact of tourist spending is…

Then total South Carolina State tax revenues generated

will be…

And total local taxes generated

will be…

Then total State + local taxes generated

will be…

40% of SC families with school children take 1 additional trip (or 133,868 family trips)

$103.51 million

$3.47million

$1.35 million

$4.82 million

Demand from 100,401  families of out-of-state & in-state other tourists

$76.49 million

$2.56 million

$0.998 million

$3.55 million

 

Total Impacts

 

$180.0 million

$6.03

million

$2.34 million

$8.37 million

To summarize the economic and tax revenue impacts from this particular scenario:

ü     40% of SC families with children in school taking one additional vacation in SC plus an additional 100,401 induced family vacations from other out-of-state and in-state tourists will:

Ø     generate an estimated $180 million of economic impact in tourism areas per year,

Ø     generate an estimated $6.03 million in State tax revenues per year,

Ø     add an estimated $2.34 million in local tax revenues per year, and

Ø     add an estimated total State and local tax revenues of $8.37 million per year.

Geographic Distribution of the Impacts from this Scenario

The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (SC-PRT) tracks tourist spending geographically in the State.  Studies indicate tourism spending in South Carolina is divided geographically in the following regions of the State:

          Coastal Region of SC               64.6% of all tourists

          Midlands Region of SC             20.0% of all tourists

          Upstate Region of SC               15.4% of all tourists

          Total                                        100% of all tourists

Where:

Coastal SC region includes these counties: Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, and Jasper.

Midlands SC region includes these counties: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda, Sumter, and Williamsburg.

Upstate region includes these counties: Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Chester, Chesterfield, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, McCormick, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, Union, and York.

Using the above detailed possible spending scenario of increased tourist spending from restoration of August vacation season, the geographic distribution of the total impacts of the economy and tax revenues are as shown in the following table.

Geographic Distribution of Economic Impacts and Tax Revenue Impacts of Possible Scenario

Total State impact from possible scenario

Coastal SC region’s contribution to total State impact (64.6%)

Midlands SC region’s contribution to total State impact (20.0%)

Upstate SC region’s contribution to total State impact (15.4%)

$180 million total economic impact generated

$116.3 million

$36.0 million

$27.7 million

$6.03 million SC State tax revenues generated

$3.9 million

$1.20 million

$0.93 million

$2.34 million of local tax revenue generated

$1.51 million

$0.468 million

$0.362 million

$8.37 million State + local tax revenues generated

$5.4 million

$1.67 million

$1.29 million

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Possible Scenarios

The above analysis is but one of many scenarios of the impacts of restoring the August vacation season with later school start dates.  There are many other possible scenarios, all dependent on how in-state and out-of-state tourists respond to a longer vacation season in South Carolina. 

The above scenario demonstrated uses a conservative estimate of tourist response by assuming only 4 out of 10 families with children in South Carolina school would take an additional vacation in SC and also the longer vacation season would induce approximately 100,000 other in-state and out-of-state family tourists trips.  There are scenarios under less conservative assumptions that would estimate higher economic impacts and tax revenues, and scenarios under more conservative assumptions that would estimate lower economic impacts and tax revenues generated.

Conclusion and Summary

ü     South Carolina public schools have begun earlier and earlier in August, taking away up to 3 weeks of summer August vacation time from families with children in South Carolina public schools.

ü     Early school start dates shorten the August vacation season in South Carolina and is associated with decreased August tourism demand, costing the State’s largest industry – tourism – millions in lost economic activity and millions in lost State and local tax revenues.

ü     Early school start dates in South Carolina are associated with lower August tourist business activity including decreased August hotel occupancy rates, decreased August State and local accommodations taxes generated, decreased State and local sales tax generated, and decreased August employment in tourist areas.

ü     Decreased August tourist activity as schools start earlier, are not off-set by increases in tourist activity in other summer months.

ü     Starting schools in August mean schools must cool facilities for children during the hottest month of the year - August, costing unnecessary utility expenses by starting early, as opposed to starting after Labor Day in September.

ü     One scenario estimates economic and tax revenue impacts where as little as 4 out of 10 families with children in South Carolina take one additional vacation if August summer vacation were restored; plus an induced additional 100,000 families from in-state and out-of-state family vacations would generate $180 million in total economic impact, $6.03 million is State tax revenues, $2.34 million in local tax revenues, and $8.37 million in total State and local tax revenues.

 

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Noteworthy articles
  http://www.cta.org/cal_educator/v4i5/feature_shadow.html
about the nightmare of year-round schools in Anaheim, Calif., in the shadow of Disneyland.

 Coming soon: Reports to school boards  from two psychologists on the importance of summer leisure and the fallacies of "summer learning loss" theories used to sell school calendar change.