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Md. governor defends school start order

Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at a news conference on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 near Annapolis, Md., with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in the backdrop. Hogan announced a $5 million study to explore a potential new Chesapeake Bay crossing. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Debate continues over Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order, which forces all public schools in the state to start classes after Labor Day beginning next year.

Hogan defended his order on Wednesday, one week after signing it.

The issue came up as Hogan took questions at the end of an unrelated ceremony at the Maryland State House in Annapolis.

When asked whether he consulted educational experts or school superintendents before making his decision, the governor pointed to a task force that studied the issue in 2013 and 2014.

“It did all the studies and did all the research with the school administrators [and] voted 12 to 3 in favor of requiring schools to start after Labor Day, after, I believe, a year’s worth of work. And they found absolutely no adverse impact whatsoever,” Hogan said.

The task force made its recommendation in 2014, but changes were not made.

“So we decided to finally act on what everyone has recommended for several years now,” Hogan added.

He believes his order has widespread support.

“Nearly everyone is thrilled with the idea, with the exception of a few people in the media and a few people that are paid school advocates. But teachers love it, parents love it and students love it. And it’s long overdue,” he said.

Those who have come out against the executive order include the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education and teachers union, the Maryland State Education Association and the Maryland Association of Boards of Education.

During a Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday, Hogan and Treasurer Nancy Kopp also sparred over Hogan’s executive order to start school after Labor Day.

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