All Arizona schools and universities would be on the same spring break and fall break schedule under new legislation proposed in the State House.
It’s being met with mixed reaction in Lake Havasu City, home to a tourism-based economy that relies on spring break visitors.
Some worry that Havasu may not be able to comfortably accommodate thousands of Arizonans if they all show up here at once.
It could happen if House Republican Majority Leader Warren Petersen gathers enough support for HB2128, which would charge the state’s Department of Education and the Arizona Board of Regents with jointly designating one week in the fall and one week in the spring during which all school districts and all universities would recess.
Terence Concannon, president & CEO of the tourism bureau Go Lake Havasu, remained optimistic about the possibility of a uniform break schedule in Arizona.
“It may have an impact, but college and family spring breakers come to Lake Havasu from all over the western United States, so we expect our spring break visitation to be as robust as ever,” he said.
Without committing to how he would vote on the bill, Leo Biasuicci is weighing the effects of H2128. He’s in his second year as a Republican member of the State Legislature representing District 5, which includes Havasu.
“I think this bill has positives and negatives,” he said in a text message. “I like it because it would be extremely beneficial for families. This would allow parents to plan for spring break/fall break accordingly. If they have children in different schools (public/charter/private), they will all be off at the same time. They won’t have to figure out how to manage different spring break timeframes for their children.”
Biasuicci is a lifelong Havasu resident and voiced concerns about how the amendment would affect his hometown.
“On the negative side, this could be a hit on our local hotels since this would cause a capacity issue for that designated week of spring break. Instead of it being spread out over the spring period, the hotels would only be able to capture that business for one week,” he said. “Since we only have so many hotels, this could impact the number of visitors. Ultimately, this would cause them and the city to lose revenue since during that week, those that can’t find a hotel will go elsewhere.”
Local school officials viewed the legislation with raised eyebrows.
Diana Asseier was cautious about the legislation. She’s the superintendent of the Lake Havasu Unified School District.
“Our greater concern is the continuity of our local academic calendar and what is best for that,” she said. “We currently schedule our academic year and align our breaks to that. Ends of grading periods are a perfect time for students to have a break in the academics. It allows for cohesiveness in the content pacing and gives students timely breaks from the rigor and stress of school.”
The district’s governing board President Lisa Roman agreed.
“A lot of thought has been put into developing LHUSD’s academic year calendar and timing the breaks so that they are beneficial to students and staff. I would be hesitant to support legislation that might interfere with our district’s careful planning,” Roman said.