From the office of the State Comptroller:
Citing the benefits to Maryland families, small businesses, and tourism overall, Comptroller Peter Franchot today called for a statewide policy change to have all school systems in the state begin classes after Labor Day weekend. Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan and members of the local business community joined the Comptroller at the announcement.
“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 a week, or even ten days, before Labor Day,” said Comptroller Franchot. “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 that rely on the tourist trade. During these tough economic times, we need to be doing all that we can to support the tourism sector and find ways to foster even more growth.”
With nationally renowned vacation destinations like Ocean City, Deep Creek Lake, and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, tourism has grown into the fourth largest industry in the state, with Maryland welcoming over 32 million domestic travelers last year. The tourism sector employs over 340,000 Marylanders and the summer months are particularly busy statewide. For example, an August week in Ocean City can generate almost $5 million in State and local revenues; while, nearly $3 million is generated during a holiday weekend. Other states that have adopted this policy, including neighboring Virginia, have documented the benefits to their state and local economies.
Instead of reducing the school year, the Comptroller is confident that the state’s school systems would be able to adjust their calendars while maintaining the 180-day academic year. The flexibility of adjusting winter and spring breaks or eliminating some of the numerous days off currently built into the calendar would be left to the school systems
“Our school system has been rated the top in the nation for several years now and our teachers, administrators and support staff are the most talented in the country. I am confident they can adjust the school calendar in order to provide for a start after Labor Day,” said Comptroller Franchot. “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.”