New start date in effect for MCPS


Graphic by Charlotte Alden.

By Andie Silverman

The MCPS Board of Education (BOE) voted unanimously Nov. 15 to start the 2017-2018 school year Sept. 5, the Tuesday following Labor Day.

The decision to accept Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order to push start dates back for the entire state of Maryland, marks the end of MCPS’s attempts to start at an earlier date. While school will still end around June 15, spring break may be cut shorter in order to compensate.

Originally, the BOE applied for a waiver to start school before Labor Day, but amendments made to Hogan’s order made getting the waiver approved challenging.

“I would have prefered for the governor to have consulted county superintendents and school boards,” BOE at-large representative-elect Jeanette Dixon said. “Since he didn’t, and decided to issue his executive order, I think MCPS can make the after Labor Day start [day] work and I support it.”

However, Dixon’s view is not held by all; junior Haley Garton said she feels this is taking away from needed breaks during the school year.

“The later start date gives us less time to be with our families over the holidays,” Garton said. “The whole point of giving us a break is to let us travel, but if they cut down the breaks, we won’t have enough time to visit anywhere. The kids that do travel might have to miss school and stress themselves out with making up work.”

Some students prefer the later start date because it will expand students’ opportunities to participate in trips, camps and jobs through late August.

“I go to a camp that ends a week before school usually starts,” sophomore Daniel Harris said.  “I was worried it would be moved earlier and I wouldn’t be able to do the camp.”

When considering which days should be removed from the calendar to make up for the lost week before Labor Day, sophomore Emmy Lane feels that it would be better for them to remove holidays rather than shortening spring or winter break.

“I would rather see them remove some holidays throughout the year,” Lane said. “I think the length we have for spring and winter break is good and shouldn’t be shortened.”

Other students understand the purpose of Hogan’s order, which seeks to increase the revenue brought in by summer vacation spots, but are still upset about the potential effects on the school calendar.

“I feel like the beaches and vacation areas in the state will definitely benefit from this because they will get more visitors,” junior Vivek Nathan said. “But there’s no doubt that we will lose some school holidays to make up for this change.”