Delaware Lawmaker Renews Calls for Labor Day Bill, as Early Clas - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Lawmaker Renews Calls for Labor Day Bill, as Early Classes Begin

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School got started Tuesday morning at the Milford School District, including Lulo Ross (Source; WBOC) School got started Tuesday morning at the Milford School District, including Lulo Ross (Source; WBOC)
Seasonal Businesses like Grotto Pizza has lost dozens of student workers already statewide (Source: WBOC) Seasonal Businesses like Grotto Pizza has lost dozens of student workers already statewide (Source: WBOC)

MILFORD, Del. - As classes kick off in many school districts across the country, one Delaware lawmaker is renewing his calls for a bill that would mandate a post-Labor Day start time for schools in the First State. Senate Bill 161, which passed the Delaware Senate but failed to pass the Delaware House in the 2015 legislative session, would look to spur more economic activity in the coastal communities by expanding summer. 

The bill sponsor, Sen. Gerald Hocker, said the bill would also allow for businesses to keep their student employees for a few weeks longer. Hocker, who owns the Hocker's Superstore in Ocean View, said that he has run into this problem with his own store. 

"It's killing our full time help," he said. "We had to bring additional foreign workers in. It hurts the state's economy." 

At Grotto Pizza on the Avenue, manager Jason Hoenen said that the store has lost approximately a dozen workers already due to school districts starting before Labor Day. 

"A lot of our staff for the seasonal area is kids 18 and under," he said. "For our counter people and our host staff and a lot of our pizza and kitchen staff and prep cooks, dishwashers and that. So we're still doing a good amount of business, but unfortunately we're going to lose a huge percentage of our staff because of that."

The bill failed in 2015 due to opposition from many school districts in Delaware. Many school leaders told WBOC that these scheduling decisions should be made at the local level. 

Some school districts like Cape Henlopen and Indian River already choose to start school after Labor Day. This however is not the case at many school districts across the state, including many in northern Delaware. 

In Milford, school got started Tuesday morning, a decision made by the district's scheduling committee, according to Superintendent Kevin Dickerson.

"Every year it kind of changes," he said. "Depending on the calendar through the year. And this year, there are some different things with the election year and those types of things. And really it felt like it was a good opportunity for us to get a head start on instructional time."

While SB 161 passed the Senate, it was by a very small margin. The final vote was 11 to 10, including many no votes from senators in upstate Delaware. Hocker said that he will file the bill once again in the 2016 legislative session.

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