Md. officials reject Prince George’s early school start date plan

WASHINGTON — Top education officials in Maryland have rejected a plan by Prince George’s County Public Schools to start classes before Labor Day.

A proposed school calendar approved by the Prince George’s County Board of Education would have set Aug. 22 as the first day of classes. That’s in defiance of an executive order issued by Gov. Larry Hogan blocking schools from opening their doors before Labor Day.

The plan was voted down Monday by the state board of education, a spokeswoman for Prince George’s County Public Schools confirmed to WTOP.

The rejection means classes In Prince George’s County will begin Sept. 6 and finish June 13, according to an alternative calendar also approved by the county school board.

Last August, Hogan issued the executive order on school start times, requiring public schools in the state to delay their start dates until after Labor Day. Hogan said the later start date would allow families more time to enjoy summer vacations and provide an economic boost to Maryland tourism. Hogan publicly unveiled the measure on the Ocean City, Maryland, boardwalk.

Local schools boards and teachers unions have criticized the move, although opinion polls have consistently shown public support.

In a statement, Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell said he’s concerned about a “summer learning loss” with the post-Labor Day start and difficulty scheduling teacher work days.

“More importantly, I am concerned about the basic needs that many families struggle to meet, such as regular nutritious meals and child care.,” Maxwell said in the statement. “We do not believe this mandate prioritizes children and families.”

Late last year, Montgomery County school officials approved a 2017-2018 school calendar with a start date of Sept. 5.

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