DCPS post-Labor Day start decision left to new board
CAMBRIDGE — Dorchester County Board of Education decided in the Thursday, Oct. 20 regular meeting to suspend discussion of a postLabor Day school start until after the election.
In the Tuesday, Nov. 8 general election, current District 1 representative Glenn Bramble is opposed by Robert Kirkley. District 5 representative and board president Philip Bramble is not seeking reelection and will be replaced by either Laura Layton or Voncia Molock.
The new board will consider how to address the challenges incurred with the executive order issued by Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday, Aug. 31, requiring all Maryland public schools to begin classes after Labor Day.
“The executive order will require Maryland public schools to start classes after Labor Day, and will also require them to end their school year by June 15,” Hogan said. “This new policy will begin next year with the start of the 2017-2018 school year.”
The executive order allows individual school systems to apply for a waiver of the postLabor Day start requirement if they are able to provide compelling justification. School systems will have to apply for this waiver annually. Furthermore, the State Department of Education will establish procedures and standards for school districts and individual schools seeking special waivers to accommodate non-traditional schedules.
“Families want more time to spend with each other, to make precious memories that will last a lifetime,” Franchot said. “They want the chance to enjoy those final days of summer the way they were meant to be enjoyed. Whether it’s taking that final vacation at the beach, or the lake, visiting the Inner Harbor, or catching an O’s game, enjoying an evening at the Mar yland State Fair, or just relaxing a bit at home.”
DCPS Superintendent Dr. Henry V. Wagner is concerned that the new requirements will interfere with professional development for teachers, lessen the time allotted to prepare for and wrap up the school year, shorten holiday breaks for students and teachers, and cause student achievement to suffer.
“The formulation of a school calendar has been, and should remain, a function of the local board of education,” Wagner said. “Establishing a mandate that schools must start after Labor Day, and at the same time end by June 15, creates some unintended consequences.”
Gov. Larry Hogan, right, and Comptroller Peter Franchot received loud support from the crowd upon the announcement of the executive order requiring Maryland public schools to begin classes after Labor Day.