Summer Cut Short for Students; Businesses Suffer

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SPARKS, Nev. -- It may not feel like it, but summer is coming to an end for most Washoe County School students. They start school tomorrow, which is two weeks earlier than in the past. For parents and students, the new schedule throws off their plans, but they're not the only ones who feel the impact.

"It's sad the weather is so beautiful right now. I'd really like to be doing some fun things with the kids but we're back tomorrow," Michelle Cotton, mother said.

For businesses that are heavily staffed with students, August is the best month in the year for earning profits.

"It's going to hurt us, absolutely, there aren't two ways around it. We just don't know quite yet until we get into it," Scott Carothers, Wild Island general manager said.

Wild Island is closing 10 full days of business, but is adding 20 half days to try to compensate.

"A half day vs a full day just doesn't have the same rhythm, doesn't have the same revenue draw," Carothers said.

Losing those extra full days will make a huge impact. Carothers says he'll be down 15% in sales from last season.

"We're 70% local and 30% tourist but we need those tourists just like casinos to create that base," he added.

In a tourist-driven city, businesses rely on vacation months to boost sales, but now they have to compete with fall activities.

"The mentality of people change so the summer time ends and people look for other activities so we understand that that's why August is so important to us and other businesses that cater to that," Carothers said.

The shorter summer is meant to raise the retention rate in students, but tacking those extra days of vacation onto winter and spring break isn't necessarily a good thing for the parents.

"I have a lot of friends who do have full-time jobs so they are going to have to find childcare in that week in October, not sure if I like that yet," Cotton said.

For now, the only way to prove if the schedule will be effective is with time.

"I don't know if it's gonna make a big difference as far as them going back 2 weeks early as far as retaining what they learned last year, but we'll see," she said.

All but two Washoe County Schools start tomorrow. Lemmelson and Incline start on August 26th. Douglas County and Carson City schools are not scheduled to start until August 19th.

Wild Waters will be open until the end of September.