The General Assembly earlier this year tossed out Governor Larry Hogan’s 2016 executive order forcing school systems to wait until after Labor Day to start classes.
School systems in Maryland now are considering taking advantage of that because they are facing a looming calendar crunch. Labor Day next year comes at its latest possible date, September 7.
That late start would mean schools could still be in session in late June 2021. Baltimore City, as well as Baltimore, Howard and Harford Counties are considering backing up the start of school to late August.
Baltimore County’s school board will hold a public hearing Tuesday night on three proposed 2020 calendars. One would start school a week before Labor Day. The other two map out two ways they can do an after Labor Day start. One of those has the last day of school coming as late as June 28, 2021, depending on the length of spring break and how often classes have to be canceled.
At the school board’s October 8 meeting, chairwoman Kathleen Causey said they especially should take into account what teachers think about the calendar options.
“We have a teacher retention issue.” Causey said. “If this is an issue that is vitally important to teachers, then let’s hear from our teachers.”
Cindy Sexton, the president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County said the union plans to survey its members about the proposed calendar and should have those results later this week.
The Baltimore County School Board is expected to vote on the 2020 calendar November 5.
Baltimore City’s proposed 2020-2021 school calendar is being presented to the school board this week and has a late August start.
In Carroll County, the proposed calendar starts school after Labor Day, according to Carey Gaddis, communications officer for the school system.
“We have received a lot of feedback from parents saying they would like to start before Labor Day next year because it’s so late,” Gaddis said in a statement.
Gaddis said the Carroll County School Board will take a vote on the calendar next month.
Governor Hogan signed his 2016 executive order mandating an after Labor Day start, because he said it would be good for families and businesses to have summer break extended through the holiday weekend.
But the General Assembly overturned Hogan’s order. Legislators said the decision of when to open schools should be up to local school boards.
Audio for this story will be posted Monday morning.