Franchot wants a statewide prohibition on starting school before Labor Day

Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot says for the sake of tourism and family memories, schools should open after Labor Day.

Most public schools in the state begin school about a week before Labor Day each year, depending on the calendar. This year, many school systems started on Monday, Aug. 27 and Labor Day was on Sept. 5.  

“The chance for families to spend precious time together and to build those lifelong memories during that final, end-of-summer vacation has been lost by the decision to begin school a week, or even ten days, before Labor Day,” said Franchot.

If schools started later, they would either have to cut days from vacations during the school year or add five days to the end of the year. By state law, students must be in school 180 days a year. "I think it would be difficult logistically to do without dumping the days at the end of the school year," said Bob Mosier, a spokesman for Anne Arundel County public schools.

Parents, he said, would not likely want to have their children get out later in the year. Next year, for instance, students would not get out until June 26, if students started after Labor Day.

School systems also would rather front load days in the classroom, he said, because testing is done in March each year for grades three through eight. And Advanced Placement tests are given in early May.

Mosier added that the school system just added days to spring break so that students have an entire week off around Easter. The system examined discipline data and found that school systems with a week off in the spring had fewer discipline problems after the break.

In a press release, Franchot said that he believes if a statewide prohibition were in place "the flexibility of adjusting winter and spring breaks or eliminating some of the numerous days off currently built into the calendar would be left to the school systems."

Franchot says that a new school calendar would be good for tourism and would help small businesses in the state. An August week in Ocean City can generate almost $5 million in state and local revenues; while, nearly $3 million is generated during a holiday weekend, the statement said.

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