WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is ramping up his rhetoric against state lawmakers who are trying to repeal his executive order that forces public schools to start the school year after Labor Day and end by June 15.
“I can’t image where this kind of idiocy comes from,” said Hogan. “It’s just an incredibly stupid idea.”
The full Maryland Senate is expected to consider the repeal Thursday after it was approved in committee.
“This is an issue that has really been misconstrued,” said Hogan, who pointed to polling that shows more than 70 percent of Marylanders support his order.
In 2016, Hogan announced that all public schools would start after Labor Day, saying a longer summer break would benefit families, businesses and the state’s tourism industry.
Critics have argued that school calendars should be controlled locally and not by officials in Annapolis.
“Each school system is very, very different from each other,” said Sen. Nancy King, D-Montgomery, a supporter of repealing the order. “They need to make those decisions for themselves on the calendar.”
Under the bill, Maryland’s 24 individual school boards would be in charge of their own start and end dates.
“School policy should not be a political football,” said Sen. Paul Pinsky, D- Prince George’s, another supporter of the repeal effort.
Some school systems, including Montgomery County, have complained about a lack of flexibility. But the governor’s office has repeatedly dismissed those concerns as disingenuous, saying “most jurisdictions have managed to adopt a common-sense calendar that prioritizes what students and families want.”
Hogan predicted that the legislature would pass the repeal but that voters would ultimately re-establish the post-Labor Day start through a referendum.
He said that state lawmakers, in the end, would have to apologize for repealing the order.
“They will all say, if they’re ever re-elected, ‘I’m really sorry I did that stupid thing,'” Hogan said.