Opponents: School Start Date Order Overrides Local Decision-making

Boards of Education, school officials, and teachers’ representatives express opposition to Governor Hogan’s Executive Order on requiring a post-Labor Day start to school next year.

School officials and education advocates across the state have expressed opposition and concern regarding the Governor’s Executive Order on school start dates. As described by the Office of the Governor yesterday,

The Executive Order signed today will require that Maryland’s public schools begin after Labor Day, complete the 180 days that are required under state law, and adjourn by June 15, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. The executive order does permit for a waiver to be applied for with the Maryland State Department of Education to be exempt from the post-Labor Day start date.

Under current law, local boards of education determine their school calendars. The Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), describes the negative effect of the Order on local decision-making,

MABE Secretary and Legislative Chair Joy Schaefer, a board member in Frederick County, is concerned about the effect the new mandate will have on the ability of local boards to make responsive community-based decisions. “School boards each have a comprehensive and inclusive process in place to develop their school calendars. For example, in our county, not only do teachers and staff weigh in, but also we provide opportunities for input from our various stakeholders – families, the business community, and the community at large. Our calendar development exemplifies local control and governance at its best and most effective.”

MABE also points to the adjustments that need to occur to comply with the Order in a news release,

The strict limitation of ending school on June 15th will require not only new school calendars but new teacher and employee contracts. The time and money spent on these negotiations would be better spent on educating our 870,000 public school students. . .

For more information, see MABE Advocates for Boards to Retain Local Control of School Calendars.

Coverage of concern about the Order from school officials and teachers’ representatives is featured in area newspapers. As reported in the Washington Post,

. . . Michael A. Durso, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education, said the state’s largest school district strongly opposed Hogan’s action, which he said “ignores critical issues faced by schools and the potential negative instructional impact on students.”

As reported in the Baltimore Sun,

Sean Johnson, the lobbyist for the state’s teachers union, said it “codified the brain drain” that occurs during summer vacation.

As reported in the Cumberland News-Times, 

Allegany County Superintendent of Schools David Cox called Hogan’s decision a “mistake” that will negatively impact student learning and the instructional calendar.

For more information, see the full story from the Post, Hogan orders Md. schools to start after Labor Day beginning next yearHogan orders Maryland public schools to start after Labor Day, sparking political fight from the Sun, and Local school officials concerned over late start time in the Cumberland News-Times.