What local school systems say about starting school after Labor Day
By Baltimore Sun staff
Sep 01, 2016 at 5:13 PM
Gov. Larry Hogan made the annoucement at a press conference Wednesday afternoon on Ocean City's boardwalk.
Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order Wednesday requiring that every public school system in Maryland begin school after Labor Day and wrap up by June 15.
Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot say the decision will extend summer vacation for families and benefit businesses in resort areas such as Ocean City.
Here's how districts in the Baltimore metropolitan area have reacted to the order:
Anne Arundel County: The county's school board president, Stacy Korbelak, said it would mean cutting about 9 to 10 days out of their calendar, a task that could mean eliminating every day off. Anne Arundel started this year two weeks before Labor Day and will end in the middle of June.
"Even if we cut spring break down to Good Friday and Easter Monday, as required by law, that would only give us four days and we need 10," Korbelak said.
Baltimore County: Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance said his district would abide by the order, but that it was the wrong decision and ran counter to prevailing wisdom in education circles.
"Many of us are trying to think about 'how do we give our kids more time in school?'" Dance said, adding that his district might have to eliminate time off for religious holidays or trim spring break to meet the terms of the order.
Baltimore city: "It's going to be a real challenge," said Alison Perkins-Cohen, chief of staff of the Baltimore city school system.
In Baltimore, 84 percent of students qualify for subsidized meals and many rely on the school system for at least two meals a day.
As one of the lowest performing districts in the state, summer learning loss is already a great concern that is compounded a dearth of summer jobs or activities for city youth.
"A lot of our students don't have access to vacations in Ocean City," Perkins-Cohen said.
Carroll County: Schools Superintendent Stephen Guthrie said he thinks the decision on when to start school should be made locally.
The General Assembly may push back on Hogan's order. Guthrie plans to present two calendars to the county school board — one with a post-Labor Day Start, and one without.
A post-Labor Day start could mean later graduation dates and cutbacks on holiday time that isn't state-mandated, Guthrie said. He added there are still questions that must be answered, especially regarding possible snow days.
"Whatever the law of the land is we'll make work here," he said.
Harford County: School board president Nancy Reynolds released the following statement through a spokeswoman:
"The Governor's Executive Order mandating a post-Labor Day start for all of Maryland's public schools beginning in 2017 is contrary to the principle of local governance and the traditional role of Boards of Education and their communities in establishing policy which reflects sound educational practices, the academic needs of students, the professional needs of staff, the available resources and community interests. Local Boards of Education must be allowed to balance these needs and priorities in pursuit of the overarching goal of improving student learning.
"We in Harford County join other Boards of Education in our appreciation of the Maryland General Assembly and their position that these types of decisions should remain with the local Boards of Education."
Howard County: Schools spokesman John White questioned whether it was even possible to abide by the executive order.
"Frankly, there aren't enough days in the calendar," he said.