Staff from the Baltimore County Public Schools system proposed on Tuesday a school calendar for the 2020-2021 school year that starts before Labor Day.
Under the proposal, the first day of school would be Aug. 31. Labor Day is on Sept. 7 in 2020. The late date of the holiday is what led school staff to urge a start date before Labor Day, said George Duque, a manager in the BCPS division of human resources.
Board members urged school staff to create alternative calendars that would show what the school year would look like if the first day of school was after Labor Day, and that the calendar more fully consider Muslim holidays as full holidays, rather than professional development days, which some are currently classified as.
School system staff during the meeting said they would construct alternative calendar proposals for board consideration.
The proposed calendar will be open for public comment until Oct. 22. On that date, the board will hear public comment at its meeting. The Board of Education is expected to vote on Nov. 5 on a school year calendar.
Gov. Larry Hogan in 2016 signed an executive order mandating schools in the state start after Labor Day; the General Assembly passed a bill this legislative session that returned the authority to pick school start dates to local boards of education. Hogan vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode his veto.
“Governor Hogan is urging the board to follow the will of Marylanders, who overwhelmingly support starting school after Labor Day. We strongly encourage local families, students, and teachers in Baltimore County to weigh in with their views,” Hogan spokeswoman Shareese Churchill said in a statement.
During Tuesday’s meeting, several community stakeholders spoke during public comment, urging the Board and school system in the future to consider including days off or professional development days on Muslim holidays and on additional Jewish holidays such as Rosh Hashanah.
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The proposed calendar can be found online.