Proposes bill to bring back post-Labor Day opening statewide
(Jan. 31, 2020) Pushing for a return to a post-Labor Day start date for public schools across the state, Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Wednesday that he is introducing in the General Assembly the Universal School Start Act of 2020.
If passed, this act would repeal the 2019 legislature’s rejection of Hogan’s executive order, which required school calendars to start classes after Labor Day beginning the 2017-2018 school year. Hogan signed the executive order in September 2016 after multiple bills to require the post-Labor Day start date failed from 2013 to 2016.
Although Worcester County Public Schools already have a post-Labor Day start date, Hogan’s bill could affect the county and Ocean City by providing an extra two weeks to the summer season, thus an extra two weeks to bring in revenue.
Susan Jones, executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, said she only saw positives from this proposed legislation.
“I think it’s fantastic news because there was a year where every county did go back after Labor Day and we saw increased tourism in August,” Jones said.
She added that although it may not be what every public school district wants, it is what the general public, including parents, want, according to previous surveys conducted by the state.
“Worcester County has proven that it can be done and have great students, since we have Blue Ribbon Schools,” Jones said.
The Baltimore County School Board approved a post-Labor Day start for the 2020-2021 school year in November 2019.
“We have taken a lot of actions over the past five years, but I can’t think of a single one that has more widespread, enthusiastic support across the state,” Hogan said in a press release. “But 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 reversed themselves and ignored the people again by reversing this common sense action.”
Hogan said the legislation that countered his executive order was misguided and had the potential to “cause mass confusion this fall and in future years with a potential for 24 different start dates spread over several weeks.”