The Maryland General Assembly has voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill that will allow public schools to begin their school year before Labor Day.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the override undos Hogan’s 2016 executive order mandating the later start and returns the decision-making authority to local school boards.
After the veto, many school districts, who already have their 2019-20 calendars in place, say they don’t plan to take advantage of the authority right away.
The House override vote Friday was 93 to 43.
School officials had argued that the restrictions originally imposed by Hogan—a post-Labor Day start and a June 15 finish—made it difficult for them to squeeze in religious holidays, teacher workdays and unexpected snow days.
Some had to make last-minute trims to spring break to accommodate both the executive order and laws requiring 180 days of classes. Parents and educators grew frustrated with a lack of flexibility to tailor their calendars to the needs of their districts.
But Hogan has remained adamant that requiring school start after Labor Day was among his most popular decisions. The move was seen as a way to boost tourism in Ocean City and keep city children out of sweltering classrooms that lacked air conditioning.ar.
The Maryland Senate approved the veto override Thursday. Sen. Paul Pinsky, termed the governor’s order a “fiat written in stone” that was more focused on helping tourism than students.
In a letter sent to legislative leadership this week, Hogan says he vetoed the bill because it “runs directly counter to an action favored by the vast majority of Marylanders.”
A Goucher College poll after Hogan signed the order found 68 percent support for starting school after Labor Day. A poll this year from Gonzales Research & Media Services found 56 percent of respondents supported starting school after Labor Day, and 40 percent supported allowing local school districts to make the decision of when to start.
“Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s right,” said Delegate Brooke Lierman, who argued that summer-learning loss contributes to an achievement gap between students of different races and economic status. “Longer summers result in less time to learn.”