Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has signed an executive order that will require schools in the state to start after Labor Day.
Hogan made the announcement during a news conference in Ocean City, Maryland, Wednesday afternoon.
Hogan says the executive order will require schools in the state to start after Labor Day, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. Schools must complete 180 days of class and 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.
Supporters of starting school after Labor Day say extending summer vacation by between five and 10 days would increase family time and help small businesses that would benefit from a boost in tourism.
Hogan says nearly 75 percent of Maryland residents support starting school after Labor Day. Schools will be allowed to apply for a waiver, but they must provide a compelling reason for needing an earlier start date.
According to a study by the Bureau of Revenue Estimates, a post-Labor Day school start could generate an additional $74.3 million in direct economic activity for the state.
But Hogan's executive order is drawing some criticism.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said Wednesday shortly after Hogan's announcement that using an executive order is "legally questionable.''
Miller, a Democrat, says it would have been more appropriate for the Republican governor to push for legislation and work with education experts and local officials around the state.
Miller also says the governor's announcement with Comptroller Peter Franchot by his side "appears like political gamesmanship.''