Governor mandates post-Labor Day start to school for 2017-2018
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Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order on August 31, requiring all Maryland school to begin after Labor Day and end by June 15.
According to Maryland.gov, “’Starting Maryland public schools after Labor Day is not just a family issue – it’s an economic and public safety issue that draws clear, strong, bipartisan support among an overwhelming majority of Marylanders,’ said Governor Hogan.” There are 24 counties in the state of Maryland, and only one currently starts after Labor Day.
Many counties have expressed concerns about how to fit the full 180 required instructional days into that span of time without removing breaks and holidays.
“My initial concern was that really is a local decision that…the jurisdictions…ought to be making and not the governor, and then secondly I’m just not sure how it works,” Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education President Michael Durso said. “We’ve looked at the calendar and the numbers of different ways, and it really doesn’t give much wiggle room.”
A major concern for the counties is how they will comply with the calendar requirements if they are closings for snow or emergencies. Anne Arundal County Public Schools’ spokesman Bob Moiser told capitalgazette.com that “The shortened school year also means less flexibility for making up emergency closings and snow days.”
“I was surprised that that was just a decision he can make…I’m just confused and waiting to see what happens I’m not even gonna consider what I’m doing then until I know what’s going on,” social studies Tom Sneddon said. “I’m not panicking about anything, whether it’s the school schedule or spring break…because they’re going to fight this across the state.”
Montgomery County has not “discussed [the calendar] formally,” Durso said. But they do not “want to let this drag long.” But some of the options do put spring break, religious days and professional days in jeopardy. “I can’t say I gather any interest in dealing with the days that coincide with religious holidays.” Durso added.
Though many are upset with this new decision some are actually thrilled for this later school year start. “[It’s] great idea, I love it,” English teacher Ellen Stahly said. “There’re a lot of people who have jobs in resort areas, amusement parks, beaches, and it’ll be great for the economy if we can have that extra summer time.”
“I think it was a pretty thoughtful decision… [but] there’ll be a fight,” Stahly added. “[But] I think Montgomery County will keep the school year exactly as it is right now.”
“[Governor Hogan] might be inclined to wave the June 15 part of it…the attorney general could weigh in because they are some that question the legality of this,” Durso said. “I think it’s a bit of a chess game.”