Later start date, better economy? Maryland's comptroller thinks so.
More and more school districts across the country are opening public schools earlier after the summer break, but Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot says that the state should consider going in the opposite direction.
In a report released yesterday in Ocean City, Franchot argued that allowing schools to open after Labor Day would provide a late-summer boost to the state's economy worth $74 million in direct activity, including $3.7 millon in new wages and $7 million to state and local governments.
“The chance for families to spend precious time together and to build lifelong memories during that final, end-of-summer vacation has been lost by the decision to begin school a week, or even ten days, before Labor Day,” said Franchot. “Not only does this cut into the opportunity for Marylanders to spend more time together as a family, but it also has a negative impact on small businesses. In these tough economic times, we need to do all that we can to support small businesses and promote economic activity, not cause unnecessary harm to them for no apparent reason.”
This year most of Maryland's 24 school districts will welcome students back on August 26. But according to the report, a post-Labor Day start date would give families time for an extra trip, and Franchot estimated that 8.5 percent of 514,680 families would take the opportunity to travel to Ocean City, Deep Creek Lake or Baltimore.
Various states have laws on the book forbidding schools from opening before Labor Day, including Virginia. But in the commonwealth, the so-called King's Dominion law—named after the Richmond-area amusement park—has been criticized by education advocates who say that students should be given more time in school. Repeated attempts to scrap the law have been rebuffed under intense lobbying from Virginia's tourism and amusement industry.
Franchot says that Maryland schools could maintain the 180-day school calendar by shortening other vacations throughout the school year and scrapping certain closure dates.
Schools After Labor Day