The Baltimore County school board voted Tuesday to approve an academic calendar that keeps schools closed next year on the Jewish High Holy Days.

The board’s decision comes after heated debate within the community about whether to require students to attend classes on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The 9-3 vote follows the order of Gov. Larry Hogan that public schools in Maryland begin after Labor Day and end by June 15. The requirement, aimed at extending the summer and boosting state tourism, has forced some districts to compress their academic calendars. Religious holidays, snow days, school breaks and teacher planning days are in competition to avoid the chopping block.

An advisory committee proposed two calendar options for the 2018-2019 school year. The board chose the one that shortens spring break to keep schools closed for the Jewish holidays.

The advisory committee had recommended the other option, which would have kept schools open on the High Holy Days but given students a break from the Thursday before Easter through the Monday after Easter.

County schools have closed for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for about two decades. Rosh Hashanah next year begins at sundown on Sept. 9. Yom Kippur begins at sundown Sept. 18.

The Baltimore Jewish Council and the Baltimore County PTA board of directors opposed opening schools on those days.

“We’re pleased the board recognized the operational needs for keeping the Baltimore County schools closed for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur,” said Howard Libit, the council’s executive director.

School board member David Uhlfelder estimated it would cost the school system between $300,000 and $500,000 to pay for the substitute teachers needed to fill in for Jewish teachers who take the days off.

“It’s not a religious issue. It’s more at Baltimore Sun