Maryland lawmakers cleared the desk of gubernatorial vetoes on Friday, dispatching with Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan’s rejection of a school start measure with votes to spare.
The House of Delegates voted 93-43 to override Hogan’s veto of Senate Bill 128. With the state Senate having taken similar action on Thursday, the measure becomes law.
As a result, Maryland’s 24 school districts regain the right to decide when classes begin and end each year.
The vote is a victory for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, the state’s superintendents, and advocates for a longer school year.
“Longer summers result in less time to learn and they lead to increasing disparities in achievement for our young people,” said Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City).
She urged her colleagues to “follow the research, rather than the politics.”
Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery) said an executive order Hogan signed in 2016 made life difficult for school districts that observe religious holidays that others don’t.
“When we hold school on those days, it’s unfair to those communities, and schools can’t function as they normally would,” he said.
Current policy “does not respect the diversity of our state,” Luedtke added.
Republican lawmakers noted that business groups supported the governor’s decision to prohibit schools from starting the year before Labor Day. With the support of Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D), they adopted the slogan “let summer be summer.”
House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County) called the legislation “unfortunate.”
She said it “unravels years of bipartisan work and study by seeking to reverse the post-Labor Day school start for public schools.”