SCHOOL START CHANGE DUSTUP: Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered public schools in the state to extend summer recess until after Labor Day beginning in 2017, setting off an immediate battle with school officials and Democratic legislative leaders, reports Josh Hicks for the Washington Post.
- Hogan drew a proverbial line in the sand Wednesday, warning lawmakers they could find themselves out of a job if they oppose his executive order mandating schools start their instructional year after Labor Day, citing polls that show wide support for the change, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
- John Lee of WYPR-FM reports that the governor also used the announcement to take a shot at Baltimore County for having 37 schools without air conditioning. The later start date, he said, “will even prevent Baltimore County, which unfortunately has failed to air condition its schools, from losing so many days of school due to heat-related closures.”
- The move drew immediate condemnation from education leaders — who have opposed such a mandate in the past — and the Democrats who control the General Assembly. Sean Johnson, the lobbyist for the state’s teachers union, said it “codified the brain drain” that occurs during summer vacation, Erin Cox and Liz Bowie report in the Sun.
- Cindy Huang of the Annapolis Capital reports that Bob Mosier, spokesman for Anne Arundel County Public Schools, said the system will have to convert 10 vacation days into school days to comply with Hogan’s order. “It puts a python-like squeeze on our school calendar,” he said.
- For Teresa McCulloh, president of the Carroll County Education Association, the decision brought anger. “Needless to say, we are disappointed in the executive order, a decision that should be made locally, not from the top down.” Emily Chappell reports the story for the Carroll County Times
- Jeremy Bauer-Wolf of the Frederick News Post reports that the executive order was met with disapproval by Frederick County representatives.
- Donna Brightman, president of the Washington County Board of Education, said Wednesday that she was deeply disappointed with Gov. Hogan’s decision to override local control by ordering the school year to start after Labor Day and end by June 15, reports Julie Greene in the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
- Greg Larry of the Cumberland Times News writes that Allegany County Superintendent of Schools David Cox called Hogan’s decision a “mistake” that will negatively impact student learning and the instructional calendar. Barbara Baker, Garrett County interim superintendent of schools, said that for Garrett County Public Schools “to begin after Labor Day, complete the 180 days required under state law, and adjourn by June 15 … would be very difficult … Garrett County Public Schools face some of the worst weather in the state and average 12 snow days a year.”
- Doug Tallman of Bethesda Beat reports that Hogan’s executive order requiring school years to start after Labor Day moves the state in the direction opposite to what Montgomery County has been pursuing, the county’s teachers union president said Wednesday.
- Calling the executive order an attempt “to usurp local decision-making around school calendars,” Montgomery School Board President Michael Durso said in a statement that “prohibiting schools from starting before Labor Day ignores critical issues faced by schools and the potential negative instructional impact on students. Determining the school calendar is complicated and requires balancing educational requirements, operational issues, and unique community needs all in the interest of students.” Julie Rasicot writes the story for Bethesda Beat.
- Nadia Singh of WMAR-TV reports that Sen. Bill Ferguson is also against the governor’s mandate, as are some parents who are concerned about the cost of child care.
24 OF 26 ON FUNDING PANEL NAMED: All but two of the 26 members on the new commission on school funding have now been named, and it will hold its first meeting Sept. 29, reports MarylandReporter.com. Former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan was named chair last month in an unusual joint appointment by the governor, Senate president and House speaker.
2 HIRED IN STATE SUPER’S OFFICE: Carol Williamson, the former superintendent of Queen Anne’s County Public Schools, has been hired as Maryland’s deputy state superintendent for teaching and learning. And Sylvia Lawson to be deputy superintendent for school effectiveness, Liz Bowie reports in the Sun.
MD HIGH COURT SESSION STARTS: Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports that Maryland’s top court begins its 2016-2017 term today with a new judge and cases addressing the constitutionality of state restrictions on vanity license plates, the deference appellate courts owe to trial judges in suppressing evidence and whether a decade-old, criminal-law precedent should be overturned.
STATE GETS $800,000 FOR OYSTER REHAB: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $800,000 to Maryland to help restore the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population, according to an AP story in the Daily Record.
PG OFFERS DOWNSIZED HOSPITAL PLAN: Officials in Prince George’s County have submitted a modified proposal for a new regional medical center that reduces the size and cost of the project. But it remains unclear whether the changes are enough to satisfy state regulators and win the long-sought Certificate of Need that is required to move forward, Arelis Hernandez of the Post reports.
IN PRAISE OF HOGAN: Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelidis praises Gov. Larry Hogan for a $345,147 public safety grant the city won from the state, writing in the Annapolis Capital that, “While the money will address overtime costs and fund additional security cameras, this grant is really about a Maryland governor who is aware, concerned and quick to respond when he identifies a critical need across the state. I want to acknowledge Gov. Larry Hogan for his keen understanding of what it takes to protect our community and applaud his leadership by securing necessary funding for Maryland’s capital city.”
PUGH LEADS IN MONEY RACE: Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, the Democratic nominee for mayor, has nearly 100 times more campaign cash on hand than her general election rivals, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun. Pugh has $280,670 in her campaign account, according to finance filings due Tuesday at the State Board of Elections. Republican nominee Alan Walden has $2,983 on hand, according to his latest filing. Green Party candidate Joshua Harris in April filed an affidavit stating he did not plan to raise or spend more than $1,000 in the filing period.
- Online filings to the Maryland State Board of Elections show that Pugh, who went on to pull ahead of former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and win the Democratic nomination, collected checks from a who’s who of Baltimore-area developers, contractors, attorneys and business owners. These contributions, from events and other fundraising efforts after the April 26 primary, helped the candidate pay off the debts she incurred before the primary was held, Fern Shen and Mark Reutter of Baltimore Brew report.