ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The debate over the start of school is rekindled in Annapolis.
Lawmakers heard testimony Friday of Governor Larry Hogan’s proposal to start school after Labor Day.
Gov. Hogan once again champions the cause of a longer summer with the Universal School Start Act; keeping students on vacation until after Labor Day.
His legislative team took questions from Members of the House Ways and Means Committee about where support for this bill is coming from.
“The governor travels all over the state,” Keiffer Mitchell, Gov. Hogan’s Legislative Advisor, said. “Wherever he goes, there are folks, parents, teachers and children that have asked him about school after Labor Day. Hence, that’s why you have this bill.”
It was in those travels that Gov. Hogan issued his 2016 executive order to delay the start of school; let summer be summer, was the motto.
Last year, however, the General Assembly reversed the order, saying school districts should have local control, even if most Maryland residents prefer the post-Labor Day start.
“I have three little kids, and we’re planning our summer activities now,” Nic Kipke, House Minority Leader, said. “It’s important, Education is vitally important, and we also have to make sure that people’s quality of life is important as well.”
Committee members heard testimony from the Maryland Tourism Coalition and Marylanders For a Longer Summer in favor of changing the start date.
“The Maryland State Fair reported some of its best numbers ever,” Chris Riehl, of Baltimore Rent a Tour, said. “Thousands of families had additional opportunities to make lasting Maryland memories together.”
The challenge is to get lawmakers who voted against the governor’s order to vote in favor of the bill.
The Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) and other organizations submitted written opposition to the bill.
The MSEA said that the General Assembly got it right last year when it reversed Gov. Hogan’s executive order.