DCPS post-La­bor Day start de­ci­sion left to new board

Dorchester Star - - Regional - By VICTORIA WIN­GATE vwingate@ches­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ vic­to­ri­adorstar and on In­sta­gram @dorchester.star.

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.”

PHOTO BY VICTORIA WIN­GATE

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.

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