‘Ma­jor an­nounce­ment’ on school start­ing dates planned

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By Erin Cox Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Liz Bowie and re­search li­brar­ian Paul McCardell con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. ecox@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Eri­natTheSun

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.

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