In 2016, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order, from a podium situated right on the Ocean City boardwalk, that mandated Maryland’s public schools not start for the year until after Labor Day. In recent weeks, Democrats in the General Assembly have challenged this order in support of school districts determining their own schedules.
A standing committee of the Maryland State Senate, the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, voted on Senate Bill 128 on Wednesday, which passed 7-4. Among other things, the bill allows individual school districts to determine their own start and end dates.
Senators debated the bill on Thursday, when Hogan spoke out against the legislation and claimed that the majority of Marylanders, including teachers, support starting school after Labor Day. He referenced polling that shows over 70% of Marylanders continue to support his executive order.
The new legislation, he said, is an effort to subvert the will of the people by “out-of-touch politicians” and “paid political operatives.”
“Inexplicably, they are attempting to reverse this policy, but we simply cannot and we will not allow misguided and misinformed legislators and special interest groups to turn back the clock and ignore the will of the people of Maryland,” Hogan said.
Supporters of Senate Bill 128, headed by the bill’s sponsor Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George’s), have argued that school districts need the flexibility to maintain their own annual schedules and that politics should be left out of education policy. Some educators claim that pushing back the start date of the school year has resulted in the loss of valuable learning time for students.
The executive order that went into effect in 2016 was initially popularized by Comptroller Peter Franchot’s “Let Summer Be Summer” campaign, which launched in 2014. The campaign was accompanied by a petition for all public schools to start after Labor Day, which was ultimately signed by 13,240 Marylanders.
An economic development impact report on a post-Labor Day start for public schools that was released in August of 2013 found that a delayed school start in Maryland would result in an additional $74.3 million in direct economic activity, including $3.7 million in new wages and a separate $7.7 million in state and local revenue.
Hogan posted a petition to his Facebook page on Feb. 5, asking Marylanders to “Stand with us and our efforts to restore common sense to school calendars.” The Town of Ocean City’s tourism Facebook page shared the petition, adding, “As big fans of summer, Ocean City, Maryland supports the post-Labor Day start to the school year.”
Hogan has promised a referendum if the new bill is ultimately passed.
Hogan Promises Referendum If School Start Date Reversed By Legislature
02/07/2019 | Hogan Promises Referendum If School Start Date Reversed By Legislature | News Ocean City MD
OCEAN CITY – As predicted, a Senate committee this week approved legislation which could derail the mandate for a post-Labor Day school start, but Gov. Larry Hogan quickly fired back with a promise for a referendum if the bill is ultimately passed.
Democrats revive fight with Hogan over starting school after Labor Day
February 6 The question of who should decide when schools start in Maryland continues to be up for debate in Annapolis. More than two years after Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered public schools to begin classes after Labor Day, a Senate panel has approved legislation that would let school districts determine when school starts and ends.
Maryland battle over school start date flares up anew
CLOSE The start date for Maryland’s public school year has sparked a high-profile battle between Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democrats who control the General Assembly. Hogan spoke out forcefully Thursday against a measure to let local school districts decide whether schools start before or after Labor Day.
Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk – February 8, 2019
A quality lead on a newspaper piece is important, but one recently in an editorial in The Baltimore Sun takes that concept way too far. An editorial by Deputy Editorial Director Tricia Bishop began with, “Did I ever tell you about the time the governor broke my daughter’s collarbone?”