Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot are fighting a Senate bill that would undo Hogan's executive order that forced schools to start after Labor Day.
Hogan issued the order in 2016, with Franchot cheering the extra money that Marylanders would spend on excursions to Ocean City and other destinations. The bill, sponsored by Prince George's County Sen. Paul Pinsky and Montgomery County Sen. Nancy King, would essentially undo that order, directing that each county board set the start and end date of its school year.
The bill cleared a preliminary Senate vote, 32-14, with a final vote expected next Tuesday. Three amendments were rejected.
Hogan proposed the issue go before voters, and claimed Democrats are spreading lies about the issue. His office pointed out former Gov. Martin O'Malley and Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller supported the idea and O'Malley considered an executive order like the one Hogan later signed.
Pinsky said the measure would give schools more flexibility.
Later Thursday, Hogan announced a compromise proposal that would codify the 2016 executive order, but also require a jurisdiction-wide ballot referendum if a school system opts to change their start date. He said if the Senate doesn't work with him and instead passes their own measure, he will lead an effort to petition the bill to referendum.
“Marylanders will have the deciding vote on this one way or another, and there is absolutely no question about where they stand on this issue," Hogan said in a statement.
Speaking to C4, Franchot said that if you asked Marylanders, they'd support keeping the school calendar as it is.
"The kids like it, obviously, their families like it because they get to spend quality time. Businesses like it because they get to have a little bit extra in their summer season, rank-and-file teachers love starting school after labor day because they're able to have a second job during the summer, et cetera, or they just get a change to recharge their batteries," Franchot said. "I guess because it's popular, the legislature wants to repeal it."
Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr., in Annapolis for a press conference on a proposed raise of the minimum wage, said he likes having school start after Labor Day, but says the decision should be left up to local school boards.