Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is again pushing to mandate that all public schools return from summer break after Labor Day.
Last year, the state legislature overturned an executive order Hogan made in 2016 requiring schools to not begin classes before the holiday. Eight months later, MCPS set its academic calendar for 2020-21 beginning on Aug. 31, a week before Labor Day.
On Wednesday morning, Hogan announced his plans for the Universal School Start Act of 2020, which would repeal the 2019 legislation.
Hogan has said the later start date invigorates small businesses through the holiday and “protects the traditional end of summer.”
Local school boards criticized Hogan’s executive order in previous years, saying it placed an unnecessary burden on school districts and limited the number of professional development days that could be built into the calendar. MCPS officials also said it caused problems for low-income families who can’t afford child care during the summer.
But in a statement on Wednesday, Hogan wrote that allowing schools to start before the holiday causes “mass confusion” because each county school system can start on different days.
Hogan wrote that he “can’t think of a single” initiative that has more statewide support than starting classes after Labor Day.
“After two years of it working very well, and after the 2018 election was completed, last year in 2019 special interests snuck a bill in and legislators … ignored the people again by reversing this common sense action with a misguided piece of legislation, which has the potential to cause mass confusion this fall and in future years with a potential for 24 different start dates spread over several weeks.”
While discussing the 2020-21 calendar, MCPS received 12,000 comments through an online survey. Most commenters preferred starting school before Labor Day, according to the results.
A Gonzales Maryland Poll released in March found that 56% of respondents statewide supported starting school after Labor Day.
This year, Labor Day falls on Monday, Sept. 7.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org