Debate Continues Over Post-Labor Day School Start

Gov. Larry Hogan held a press conference Thursday, pushing back against Maryland Senate Democrats, who started a debate on overturning the mandate that requires schools to begin the academic year after Labor Day.

In 2017, Hogan’s executive order to start Maryland public schools after Labor Day went into effect. Since then, Montgomery County Board of Education has fought the mandate.

According to Patricia O’Neill, the vice president of the school board, when Hogan signed the executive order, he required schools to end by June 15.

“Ending by June 15 creates a terrible hardship on school systems when you have large numbers of snow days,” said O’Neill. “Now this year so far—knock on wood—we have not had a ‘Snowmageddon.’ We have had years where we’ve closed for 10 days.”

O’Neill said that the school board has “already extended the school year by one date.” If there’s another weather cancellation, the school board will have to take away a teacher professional day, June 5. If by chance there’s a third school day canceled, then the board will need to “cut into spring break.”

State Senate Begins Debate to Overturn Hogan’s Executive Order

The state Senate has already begun debate about introducing legislation that would overturn Governor Hogan’s mandate. Nancy King, who represents Montgomery County, is one of the sponsors of the bill.

According to Cheryl Kagan, the legislation will have its final vote in Maryland’s Senate on Tuesday.

O’Neill said that the school board supports this legislation.

“Educators and school boards should make the decisions related to the school calendar and what’s in the best interest of children,” she said. “Every school system in the state of Maryland should decide for themselves what works for their community with the calendar.”

Governor Hogan Doubles Down on Support for School Start Mandate

In his press conference, Hogan cited Democratic politicians who he said previously supported the mandate to start school after labor day.

Hogan argued starting school after labor day is popular with Marylanders and its only politicians and “paid political operatives” who want to overturn the mandate.

“We simply cannot and we will not allow misguided and misinformed legislators and special interest groups to turn back the clock and ignore the people of Maryland,” said Hogan.

O’Neill questioned the credibility of a survey that Hogan cites about Marylanders support for the mandate. She said that she understands local businesses want more business Labor Day weekend, but she said that academics need to come first.

“We have to deal with academic achievement; we have to deal with kids who needs meals in schools,” said O’Neill. “We have thousands of high school athletes in the state of Maryland who return around August 10th every year to begin fall sports that’s set because of the way the athletic schedule falls and playoffs. So thousands of high school students, regardless of whether we start before or after labor day, are already back on our school grounds in early August.”

Hogan Threatens Referendum Over Post-Labor Day Start

Hogan said the legislation to overturn the post-Labor Day school year start passes, he’d bring forth legislation that would bring the decisions back to Marylanders to make the decision, by putting the issue forward as a referendum.

“Any local school system that attempts to evade the law and start school before labor day would be required to put that decision on the ballot, for the voters of that jurisdiction to decide for themselves. Our bill will offer genuine local control over this important issue, as opposed to the legislation currently before the Senate masquerading under the guise of more local control, which would actually do the opposite of what local citizens want and instead empower a bunch of bureaucrats and administrators decide,” said Hogan.

Hogan’s Full Press Conference

School After Labor Day Announcement

School After Labor Day Announcement – February 7, 2019

Posted by Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday, February 7, 2019

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More Snow Could Mean a Longer School Year for MCPS

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Deirdre Byrne

About Deirdre Byrne

Deirdre Byrne is a social media coordinator for Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at or on twitter at @DeirdreByrneMCM.


One Response to “Debate Continues Over Post-Labor Day School Start”

  1. Avatar
    On February 11, 2019 at 12:14 am responded with... #

    Hogan is right. Moco politics fight for job growth and bringing in companies. Don’t waste your time on noon issues.

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