Baltimore school officials are flexing their control over the district’s academic calendar and proposing classes start before Labor Day next year.

The Maryland General Assembly returned scheduling power to local school boards during the last session, passing legislation undoing Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2016 executive order that mandated starting after Labor Day each year.


The city school board will vote in December on the academic calendars for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. If the proposals pass, students will resume starting school at the end of August.

District leadership pointed to several reasons for moving the school start date back up. Parents say they’ve had to spend extra money on childcare because of the extended break, and struggled to find camps or services for the first few days of September. Families also have raised concerns about “summer learning loss,” in which students’ forget key academic skills during the long vacation.

“We decided to move back to the pre-Labor Day start because of what makes sense for families,” said James Torrence, a staff specialist for strategy and compliance.

Some districts across the Maryland found that the restrictions originally imposed by Hogan — a post-Labor Day start and a June 15 finish — made it hard to squeeze in religious holidays, teacher workdays and unexpected snow days.

Before the order was overturned, districts had to make last-minute trims to spring break in order to not break the law that requires 180 days of classes.

Hogan, a Republican, has maintained that his move to require schools start after Labor Day was among his most popular decisions. The executive order was seen as a way to boost tourism in Ocean City and keep children in Baltimore City and Baltimore County out of classrooms that lacked air conditioning during some of the year’s hottest days.

Baltimore County’s school board voted last week to start the 2020-21 school year the day after Labor Day, on Sept. 8, and end June 18, citing the disruptions caused early in past school years by hotter summer temperatures and inadequate or nonexistent air conditioning at some county schools.

Here is the proposed schedule Baltimore City is proposing for next year:

First day: Aug. 31

Winter break: Dec. 23 through Jan. 1

Spring break: March 29 through April 5

Last day: June 11

Inclement weather recovery days: June 14 through 18