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Gov. Larry Hogan signs executive order mandating schools start after Labor Day

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Posted at 11:12 AM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 18:36:26-04
Gov. Larry Hogan has signed an executive order requiring public schools to start after Labor Day, and end by June 15. 
 
The order begins with the 2017-2018 school year. 
 
“Starting Maryland public schools after Labor Day is not just a family issue – it’s an economic and public safety issue that draws clear, strong, bipartisan support among an overwhelming majority of Marylanders,” Hogan said.
 
Comptroller Peter Franchot, one of the state officials who joined Hogan at his announcement in Ocean City, has advocated for a later start to the school year for several years.
 
“Comptroller Franchot and I believe, and the people of Maryland strongly agree, that this Executive Order puts the best interests of Marylanders first, especially the well-being of our students. This action is long overdue, and it is simply the right thing to do," Hogan said.

The executive order does permit a waiver to be applied for with the Maryland State Department of Education to be exempt from the post-Labor Day start date. 

“I applaud Gov. Hogan for signing today’s executive order,” Franchot said. “This sensible, long-overdue adjustment of Maryland’s public school calendar will be a lifeline for those small, locally-owned businesses that are the backbone of our state’s economy and have struggled in the midst of the slowest economic recovery in our nation’s history. It will generate new state revenues that can be reinvested in our classrooms and for other vital priorities. It will spare tens of thousands of teachers, students and school employees from having to return to sweltering, unhealthy classrooms in the hottest days of August."

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A 2013 economic impact study by Maryland’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates found that a post-Labor Day school start could generate an additional $74.3 million in direct economic activity, including $3.7 million in new wages and $7.7 million in state and local tax revenue.

In 2013, a nonpartisan task force voted 12-3 to recommend that schools begin after Labor Day.

Franchot released a YouTube video on Monday with Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan talking about the positive aspects of a later school start.

Sean Johnson, director of government relations for the Maryland State Education Association, released a statement sharply criticizing the governor's actions. 

"When it comes to our public schools, there’s one word that Gov. Hogan thinks of: cuts. Cuts to school funding, cuts to the school year—he prioritizes cuts over developing real, detailed strategies to reduce over-testing, close achievement gaps, and expand proven reforms like pre-kindergarten, after-school programs, and community schools.

“Forcing all schools to begin after Labor Day won’t help students do better—and research shows that it can worsen summer brain drain among students from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. It’s abundantly clear that Gov. Hogan is more interested in grabbing headlines than employing research-backed solutions that could make a difference for students," Johnson said. 

 
The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
 

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