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Md. Gov. Hogan rips overrule of his Labor Day start for schools

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks out against a measure that would enable local school boards to decide whether school starts before or after Labor Day during a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 in Annapolis, Md. The Republican governor said his 2016 executive order requiring school to start after Labor Day is widely supported by Maryland residents, and he said he is confident voters would overturn legislation before the General Assembly to change that, if the measure passes. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called a vote to let school systems decide when to open for the school year “politics at its worst.”

On Wednesday, the House of Delegates voted to pass a bill that effectively does away with the governor’s 2016 Executive Order that mandated a post-Labor Day opening for Maryland public schools. Their vote came after the Senate passed the measure. Each chamber passed a veto-proof majority.

In a statement released late Wednesday, Hogan said the popular idea of starting after Labor Day “is being threatened by out-of-touch politicians and special interests.”

Lawmakers who sought to let schools set their own calendars argued that school districts know best what works for their communities and should have local control restored to boards of education.

Hogan, who called starting school after Labor Day a “common sense initiative,” has repeatedly cited a poll that showed 70 percent of those asked favored starting classes after Labor Day as opposed to starting before.

Maryland’s House minority leadership also decried the move. Del. Nic Kipke and House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga issued a statement saying arguments for local control are “laughable” given other bills in the House that “bypass the locals to set education policy.”

The bill passed this week would let county school boards decide when schools should open and it would let them extend the school year by five days after June 15, if necessary. Hogan’s 2016 Executive Order mandated a post-Labor Day start and required school systems to end the school year by June 15.

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