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Afternoon Poll: Should School Start After Labor Day?

By Aaron Kraut

Thursday - 8/15/2013, 4:15pm  ET

Bethesda-Chevy Chase High SchoolMaryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) says public schools shouldn’t start before Labor Day, based on a report from his staff that found more summer vacation time would give the state a nearly $75 million economic boost.

Franchot released the report, from the Bureau of Revenue Estimates, on Thursday in Ocean City. The Eastern Shore beach hotspot would stand to gain from the additional tourism of an extra week of summer vacation.

Montgomery County Public Schools start Aug. 26, as do most school systems in the state.

The report showed seven more days of summer vacation would mean $74.3 million in direct economic activity, including $3.7 million in new wages and a separate $7.7 million in state and local revenue.

“The chance for families to spend precious time together and to build lifelong memories during that final, end-of-summer vacation has been lost by the decision to begin school a week, or even ten days, before Labor Day,” Franchot said. “Not only does this cut into the opportunity for Marylanders to spend more time together as a family, but it also has a negative impact on small businesses. In these tough economic times, we need to do all that we can to support small businesses and promote economic activity, not cause unnecessary harm to them for no apparent reason.”

One apparent reason is the state-mandated 180-day school year.

But Franchot said school systems could easily move start dates back and avoid losing school days by getting rid of some school closure dates throughout the year or adjusting winter and spring break dates.

MCPS has days with no school scattered throughout the calendar to accommodate professional days for teachers, which are in its contract with the teacher’s union. In the past, the first day of school would be before Labor Day if there were election days in the fall or the holiday fell unusually late in the year.

What do you think?