As school districts ponder their calendars for the upcoming academic year now that they have the freedom to set their own schedules, state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) is touting a forthcoming report that hails the economic impact of beginning the school year after Labor Day.
The Business Economic and Community Outreach Network at Salisbury University on Thursday released a summary of a report titled “The Economic, Employment and Fiscal Impacts Of Added Summer Vacation Days Attributable To Post-Labor Day Opening of Maryland’s Public K-12 Schools.” The full report is due out in October.
Starting school after Labor Day has “a clear, positive impact on both state and local government economies” with a total net economic impact of up to $115 million, the report summary suggests.
This year the General Assembly overturned an executive order from Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) mandating that the school year in Maryland begin after Labor Day and end by June 15. The legislation, which became law despite a Hogan veto, returns power to the school districts to set their academic calendars.
Franchot was an early and vocal cheerleader of starting schools after Labor Day, arguing that doing so would be beneficial to Maryland’s tourist economy and would give families extra vacation time together.
The Salisbury business school analysis found a total net economic impact of close to $58 million for six additional days of summer vacation and almost $115 million for 12 extra days, depending upon when Labor Day falls on the calendar each year. The report estimates additional wages earned by workers to be between $2.875 million and $5.75 million during the final days of summer with local and state government revenues increasing between $8 million and $16 million, depending on the timing of Labor Day.
“These impacts, while concentrated more at key destinations, will benefit businesses, relevant industry employees, and governments in each jurisdiction of Maryland,” the preliminary report says.
“This independent analysis validates what we already know: starting school after Labor Day is good for Maryland families, good for our local businesses and good for the Maryland economy,” Franchot said in a statement. “At a time when the state is considering new sources of revenue for our public schools, this adds millions of dollars to our state’s coffers, all while supporting great family-owned, small businesses and sustaining summer employment.”
Franchot’s news release on the study features supportive quotes from a former chairman of the Maryland Tourism Council, Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan, a Baltimore County teacher, and a PTA leader from Baltimore County.
Following the legislature’s passage of the school calendar measure this year, Hogan vowed to petition the question of school start dates to the 2020 ballot, but the deadline for doing so has passed.