Post-Labor Day School Start Is Law of the Land, For Now

With no legal challenges on the horizon, school boards are planning the 2017-2018 calendars according to the Governor’s Order.

John Woolums speaks with MACo’s Legislative Committee about school start dates and the Governor’s Executive Order.

This week in Annapolis, John Woolums, Director of Governmental Relations of the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), addressed MACo’s Legislative Committee on the topic of school start dates.

Woolums detailed key parts of the Attorney General’s recent letter of advice on the Governor’s Executive order, and described the input his organization submitted to the Attorney General on the topic. MABE’s correspondence to the Attorney General’s office outlined several potential legal issues with the Governor’s action. The Attorney General’s letter of advice predicted that a reviewing court might find the executive order exceeded his authority.

Barring any pending legal action, however, Woolums clarified that the executive order is still the law of the land. Local and state boards are currently implementing the Governor’s order, and, to his knowledge, no boards of education have taken steps to challenge the legality of the Governor’s Order.

Woolums also shared several possible implications that could have an effect on county governments and other educational programs:

  • Because of the many dual-enrollment and crossover programs between schools and community colleges, the Governor’s Labor Day start date order has the potential to become an implied mandate on community college calendars
  • If school boards are granted waivers from the 180-days of school requirement, there could be financial savings. At the same time, requirements to open school early to provide special needs and low-income student services could lead to additional requests for funding.

State and local implementation of the Governor’s Order includes:

  • All school systems in Maryland are planning for a post-Labor Day start for the 2017-2018 school year.
  • The State Board will be adopting criteria for granting waivers from requirements that school systems must hold 180 days of school. These criteria could be guidelines, not regulations, speeding the process of adoption.

For updates on the State Board’s waiver policy, check the State Board of Education’s website.