ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order on Wednesday that will require schools in the state to start after Labor Day. Hogan signed the order on the Ocean City Boardwalk.
Hogan says the policy will take effect next year and it also will require the school year to end by June 15.
"Starting Maryland public schools after Labor Day is not just a family issue - it's an economic and public safety issue that draws clear, strong, bipartisan support among an overwhelming majority of Marylanders," said Governor Hogan. "Comptroller Franchot and I believe, and the people of Maryland strongly agree, that this Executive Order puts the best interests of Marylanders first, especially the well-being of our students. This action is long overdue, and it is simply the right thing to do."
Hogan made the announcement with Comptroller Peter Franchot and local officials. The governor says the change will have economic benefits by extending the summer holiday season. He also says it will help prevent disruptions when schools without air conditioning are forced to cancel classes when it's too hot.
"I applaud Governor Hogan for signing today's executive order," said Comptroller Franchot.
Supporters on Wednesday signaled to the empty stands and shops along the boardwalk, as well as the half empty beach. "Small business, everybody knows is the backbone of this economy, but it's been tough. And one holiday weekend can help a small business survive three to six weeks over the winter," said Bill Paulshock, owner of Bill's Seafood & Catering Co.
Not everybody feels the same way. The Maryland State Education Association released a statement accusing governor Hogan of putting tourism dollars ahead of education.
The statement said in part, "forcing all schools to begin after Labor Day wont' help students do better - and research shows that it can worsen summer brain drain among students from poor socioeconomic backgrounds."
Governor Hogan's office says two nonpartisan polls show more than 70% of Maryland residents support the idea.