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Franchot To Start Petition Drive For Post-Labor Day School Start

By Aaron Kraut

Tuesday - 8/12/2014, 9:00am  ET

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (file photo)Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is taking his effort to make the first day of school after Labor Day to the Ocean City boardwalk this week.

Franchot, along with local elected officials and business and tourism representatives, will start a “Let Summer Be Summer” petition drive on Thursday on the boardwalk, just a little more than a week before most public school students in Maryland head back to class.

Supporters hope the petition will collect 10,000 signatures that Franchot can present to members of the Maryland General Assembly when it reconvenes in January.

Franchot has pushed the idea of a post-Labor Day first day of school for a few years now. Last August, he commissioned an economic impact report that found pushing the first day of school after Labor Day would mean an extra $74.3 million in direct economic activity and $7.7 million in state and local revenue.

MCPS and many other school districts in the state will start school on Monday, Aug. 25, then have off a week later for Labor Day.

Education officials say the state-mandated 180-day school year makes starting before Labor Day important. Supporters of the post-Labor Day start say school districts could easily avoid losing school days by getting rid of professional days throughout the year, or adjusting winter and spring break dates.

It’s unclear Franchot’s effort has the necessary support in the General Assembly. In May, members of a task force set up by the governor’s office voted 11-4 to recommend delaying the first day of school for public schools until after Labor Day.