‘Major announcement’ on school starting dates planned
The state’s two most powerful and prominent advocates for pushing the first day of school to after Labor Day have scheduled a joint “major announcement” for Wednesday about the start date for Maryland’s public schools.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot will be in Ocean City that afternoon, the beachside town where both have publicly campaigned to delay school until after the traditional end of summer.
Through spokesmen, Hogan and Franchot declined to elaborate on the announcement. The two have teamed up in the past, using their bully pulpit on the Board of Public Works to expedite the installation of air conditioning in public schools by withholding money from Baltimore County and city schools.
Hogan has the authority to issue executive orders and push legislation in the General Assembly.
On Monday, Franchot released a YouTube video of himself and Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan working the town’s boardwalk, telling tourists about the wisdom of giving the waning days of summer back to children and their families.
“We can’t find anybody who’s opposed to starting school after Labor Day. Everybody wants it. And why not? It’s a common-sense idea,” Franchot says.
For years, Democratic lawmakers from resort areas have tried unsuccessfully to persuade the General Assembly to mandate that school begin after the holiday.
School systems oppose the idea, preferring to retain control over their own schedules. The bill has been killed repeatedly in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, chaired by state Sen. Joan Carter Conway of Baltimore.
“If it was that popular, I think we wouldn’t only have two jurisdictions to start school after Labor Day,” said Conway, a Democrat.