Multiple School-Year Tweaks Introduced; Fate Unclear

Several bills proposing changes to Governor Hogan’s post-Labor Day school year are pending, with uncertain propsects

Senators Pinsky and King present legislation on school year determination
Multiple bills have been introduced in this year’s General Assembly session proposing one or more changes to the current school year parameters established by Executive Order under Governor Hogan. Under current law and its interpretation, school systems must adopt a school year beginning after labor day, and ending by June 15.

See Conduit Street‘s September 2016 coverage of the Executive Order that began this debate.

The bills introduced already (before filing and introduction deadlines have even arrived) include:

HB 53 (Delegate Chang, et al) – removes state review of local decision to extend beyond June 15

HB 437 (Delegate Ebersole, et al) – grants far broader discretion to local school boards, limits state approval requirements

SB 128 (Senators Pinsky and King) – grants far broader discretion to local school boards, limits state approval requirements

SB 131 (Senator King) – removes state review of local decision to extend beyond June 15

The fiscal note for SB 131, heard in the Senate’s Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on January 30, lays out the policy and fiscal implications of both the current calendar process and the proposed new flexibility. The lengthy public hearing raised a variety of questions and concerns with advocates on both sides of the controversial matter.

At the hearing, Senator Nancy King, SB 131’s lead sponsor indicated, “what we really want to be able to do is to give some flexibility to local school systems, that if they have too many snow days, or too many holidays, whatever roadblocks in their way, they have a way to accomplish all those school days.” She continued, “it has gotten very complicated for the local school systems… this gives them some flexibility.”

Senator Pinsky indicated his bill (SB 128) “gives the authority back to the local boards of education… who over 50 years had the authority to set the calendar for their communities.”

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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