WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order mandating public schools in the state keep their doors closed for the summer until after Labor Day enjoys overwhelming public support, according to a poll released Monday.
About 67 percent of Marylanders approve of Hogan’s executive order on school start dates, according to a Goucher College poll, which surveyed 668 Maryland residents between Sept. 17-20. About 19 percent of respondents opposed the order, and 13 percent said they didn’t know or didn’t answer the question. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent.
Support for the measure came despite general opposition to the use of executive orders to make policy. More than half of respondents — 54 percent — said they think governors should “rarely or never use” executive orders to put regulations in place without the state legislature’s approval.
Hogan issued the executive order Aug. 31 arguing the change to the school calendar would give families more time to enjoy summer vacations, save on energy costs and boost the coffers of the state’s tourism industry.
The order sparked opposition from some state Democratic lawmakers and some large school districts, such as Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, who say they’re concerned about a “slide” in student achievement if summer breaks are lengthened.
Earlier this month, an official in the Maryland Attorney General’s Office said he believed it was “likely” a court would rule that Hogan overstepped his authority by issuing the executive order, since issues concerning schools’ calendars have typically been left to the state education board.
While the poll shows a post-Labor Day school start retains strong public support, it has actually fallen slightly since pollsters last asked about it.
When Marylanders were asked last October if they supported starting school after Labor Day, 72 percent supported the measure — 5 percentage points more than in the most recent poll.
Overall, Hogan remains popular in Maryland. Seventy percent of respondents in the most recent poll said they approve of the job he’s doing as governor and just 12 percent said they disapproved. Of those who disapproved, 26 percent cited his handling of education-related issues.