Should public schools open after Labor Day? Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot says they should.
Citing the benefits to Maryland families, small businesses and tourism, Franchot called for a policy change to have all school systems in the state begin classes after Labor Day weekend, according to a press release.
Most state school systems now begin classes a week to 10 days before the end-of-summer holiday, which takes place this year on Monday, Sept. 3.
For the 2012-2013 school year, Montgomery County Public Schools will begin classes on Monday, Aug. 27. Nearby, in Prince George's County, students will begin classes on Monday, Aug. 20. Teachers generally report back to school a week before the students.
"The chance for families to spend precious time together and to build those lifelong memories during that final, end-of-summer vacation has been lost by the decision to begin school ... before Labor Day," Franchot said.
Last year, Maryland welcomed over 32 million domestic travelers. The tourism sector employs over 340,000 Marylanders. A typical August week in Ocean City generates almost $5 million in state and local revenues. A holiday weekend generates nearly $3 million. Other states—such as Virginia—that have adopted the policy of starting school after Labor Day have documented the policy's benefits to their state and local economies, Franchot said in a press release.
Franchot added that the state's school systems should be able to adjust their calendars while maintaining the 180-day academic year.
"And the best part is that doing this doesn't cost anything ... it will actually generate more than $4 million in additional revenue for our state and local governments. This would be a win for Maryland’s families and our economy," Franchot said.
Do you agree with the comptroller? Should school start after Labor Day? How would your family benefit from a later school year start? Tell us in the comments.