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Bill faces pushback in Annapolis

(April 17, 2015) State Sen. Jim Mathias (D-38) said Wednesday that there are other avenues to success with his effort to create a statewide after-Labor Day school start date.

Mathias expressed his frustration over the pushback in Annapolis that revolved around “anything other than the text of the bill.”

The effort to start schools after Labor Day began in 2013 with Comptroller Peter Franchot, and a petition drive that ended with more than 13,000 signatures in support. Mathias was the primary sponsor of the Senate bill that would have turned the signatures into a law this year.

“I’ve got to sit down and see where we can make the legislation more attractive to opponents. Maybe change the start date to after Sept. 1? Maybe add a sunset provision? We need to look at this across the spectrum,” Mathias said.

The Bureau of Revenue Estimates, a board comprised of three ex-officio members: the Comptroller, State Treasurer and the Secretary of Budget and Management, found starting school after Labor Day in Maryland could generate $74 million or more in revenue for the tourism economy.

“The Maryland State Education Association, teachers, and superintendents opposed it, and we have to see if we can’t figure out how to get their individual voices heard,” Mathias said.

Senate Bill 455 is currently facing heavy opposition from school officials across the state, who say they would prefer to retain complete local control over school schedules, particularly given recent state mandates regarding Common Core testing.


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