ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD — When a lot of families will begin their back-to-school shopping, 8-year-old Owen DeVries will be hearing the school bell ring.
“Yep. He’s excited. Ready to get back, ready to see his friends. You know, they’ve had quite a break now and they’re ready to get back into the swing of things and see his friends everyday so he’s excited,” said Owen’s mom Mandy DeVries.
Rockford Public Schools was granted a waiver by the state to start before Labor Day.
“Some are bothered by it. They say you’re taking away our summer break, but I don’t think some realize that some schools are skipping out on Christmas break and I would much rather not give up time during Christmas break,” said Mandy.
A Michigan law that went into effect ten years ago states public schools must not start before the Labor Day holiday in an effort to increase money spent on tourism — one of the top money makers in the state.
“It really doesn’t bother us. We don’t travel though. So I know some people were bothered because they travel,” said Mandy.
“I’m excited to make new friends. And my friends from last year in my class, I want to help them get new friends with different people in my class this year,” said Owen.
“I like that Rockford thought ahead to do it. I know a lot of schools are just starting to address that with ‘Oh, Michigan added more days so we need to adjust our schedule,'” said Mandy.
A new law in place in Michigan this year has changed the requirements for how long kids need to be in school each year. It changed from a required number of hours to 180 days which has lengthened the school calendar for most districts.