Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Think about starting school after Labor Day

Cumberland Times-News

It’s that time of year when summer is winding down and Maryland families are enjoying their last bit of time together.

This often means visiting Maryland’s picturesque Eastern Shore, heading up to Deep Creek Lake or spending time in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

I often think of these precious memories this time of year — the road trips we took when I was kid and the wonderful memories Annie and I have with our own children, who have mysteriously grown up too quickly.

For many Maryland families, unfortunately, summer has come to an abrupt end, with some school systems already back in session this week.

Summer is a time for kids to be kids and families to be families, which is why Maryland needs a statewide post-Labor Day start to the school year.

Beyond its obvious benefits to family time, starting school after Labor Day would increase critical revenues and serve as a welcome boost to Maryland’s economy.

Tourism is Maryland’s fourth largest industry, and the summer plays a critical role in the success of the family-owned businesses that depend on it.

A post-Labor Day start would also spare businesses from the stresses of losing their temporary staff — teachers and students who often depend on the supplemental income — who must report to work or team practices, sometimes as soon as early August.

Right now, Ohio is considering a post-Labor Day start to the school year, and it has already been implemented in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and San Diego, among others, as well as being the standard policy for all of Canada.

And in our neighboring Virginia, where this policy is currently in place, it’s been estimated that it would cost $369 million in lost revenue and wages and $21 million in tax revenue to revert back to a pre-Labor Day start to school.

This change wouldn’t affect the amount of instruction our kids receive or the school year’s end date. We’d still be bound to comply with the mandated 180 days of instruction per school year.

North Carolina, as an example, fits in 200 instructional days between Labor Day and the end of their school year, which is mandated by state law to be no later than June 14.

Thinking about the financial health of our state and examining how current policies affect financial matters throughout Maryland is something I do on a daily basis.

And when I see an opportunity for Maryland families and businesses to simultaneously benefit from a new way of thinking, I’m happy to promote the cause.

Let’s pass a Maryland law that sees the school year start after our kids have been able to squeeze the last bit of fun out of their summer. They grow up way too quickly to let these precious chances slip by.

Peter Franchot

Comptroller of Maryland

More here.

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