Eastern Shore reacts to back to school change

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As lawmakers in Maryland finish voting on bills that affect the school year, Eastern Shore educators are responding to the significance of this change for them.

On Tuesday, the Maryland Senate voted in favor of allowing local school boards to decide whether a school would start before or after Labor Day.

The 31-13 vote was held along party lines in a Senate controlled by the Democrats. On Thursday, the measure was passed in first reading in the House, where Democrats have a qualified majority.

The issue sparked a battle with Republican Governor Larry Hogan, who signed a decree in 2016 requiring schools to start after Labor Day. The change was to benefit businesses and families during the busy summer months.

"Inexplicably, they are trying to reverse this policy, but we just can not and we will not allow misguided and misguided lawmakers to back down and ignore the will of the people of Maryland," Hogan said. at a press conference. On February 7, he called to fix the problem.

Context: Back to School after Labor Day Threatened by Maryland Senate Vote for Change

As we approach the final adoption of the bill, East Coast officials are preparing for this possible change.

Would schools change their calendars?

John Gaddis, superintendent of public schools in Somerset County, said he felt the start date should always have been left to local school boards. He stated that the board of directors is elected and that their role is to determine the schedule.

However, he understands that there are bigger problems in the state and sees its political aspect.

"Any legislation that removes local control is not a good idea," said Gaddis. "Again, the Somerset County Education Council is an elected council and it should be allowed to do this stuff."

If the measure is passed, Mr. Gaddis would like to have the opportunity to review it and give the school board the opportunity to choose the school's start date. If this had been an option when planning the 2019-2020 academic calendar, Somerset County Public Schools would not need to bring back students for the two days of the week following the day of the year. Year.

"Bring students back this Thursday and Friday after News Year will have a negative impact on our attendance rate, with many parents allowing other students to stay home for extra vacation days," he said. he declares.

In Wicomico County, superintendent of public schools, Donna Hanlin, explained how this bill would affect every school system and its students.

"This bill would allow local councils to develop their complete school calendar, including start and end dates, holidays, professional development days, parent conferences, election days, and take into account other factors such as reducing the negative consequences of learning loss during a prolonged summer break, "she said.

Context: The Battle of Maryland around the start date of classes bursts again

Officials from Worcester County Public Schools are monitoring the outstanding legislation and will continue to create a school system calendar that is in keeping with the law and reflects the wishes of our school system, "said Carrie Sterrs, Public Relations and Special Programs Coordinator.

If the measure is passed, Worcester County will continue to lead a collaborative process for scheduling, Sterrs said.

"We appreciate the feedback we receive from our stakeholders and continually strive to create a school system calendar that meets the needs of our students and our community," she said.

How does this affect companies?

Another concern regarding the passage of the bill concerns the financial implications for the state, especially for Ocean City. With an extended summer, the region is able to reap more dollars in tourism and locals can continue to work without worrying about school schedules.

Senator Adelaide Eckardt, of R-37-Dorchester, said she was convinced that starting school before Labor Day would have a definite impact on tourism on the east coast.

"The last week of August marks the end of the summer, businesses depend on this period and families are still taking holidays," she said. "Starting before Labor Day, we are reducing this crucial period for families who support our local businesses on the shore." Many parents and grandparents have contacted me directly about purchased shares and overtime hours. in advance by the family would be affected by the change of the start date ".

Eckardt also stressed the importance of the coherence of school systems.

"Maryland schools need consistency in their schedule so that families, students and businesses can plan accordingly, by returning before Labor Day and organizing a long weekend immediately afterwards. disrupt student learning, teacher planning, time spent with family and a key moment for business, "she explained.

Mary Beth Carozza R-38C-Worcester, is also against the bill and voted no on Tuesday.

She found "disappointing and frustrating" that the majority of the Senate opposes the will of the majority of Marylanders who support the start of Labor Day.

"Our constituents want us to focus on urgent issues in education, such as developing equitable funding formulas for the Shore, establishing safe and responsible schools, promoting education as a profession and strengthening the teaching of careers, trades and technology, "said Carozza in a statement.

"The Senate should be listening to the people of Maryland, and if that means we have to ask for the referendum on the theme" Start school after Labor Day ", then I'll be at your side with Governor Hogan to ensure that voters have a decisive vote on this issue, "she continued.

Gaddis, who spent 22 years in Worcester County as a professional and 48-year-old of life, said he saw the importance of Ocean City's success, but did not see why every County had to follow rules for this reason.

"As the Somerset County Manager, my start date will have no impact on Ocean City.A large majority of our students do not go to Ocean City for vacation or even work there. The derby takes place on the same weekend and many of our students participate in all the activities this annual event brings to our communities, "he said.

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AP contributed to this story.

Contact Meg Ryan reporter at Mryan@delmarvanow.com.