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Maryland School-Extension Bill in Governor's Hands

Maryland lawmakers have passed a bill that could give school systems more flexibility with their school calendars. (Pixabay)
Maryland lawmakers have passed a bill that could give school systems more flexibility with their school calendars. (Pixabay)
April 2, 2018

BALTIMORE — Spring Break is considered a necessity for many students and teachers, but Maryland schools have been forced to cut into that "unwind time" to make up for lost days earlier in the academic year.

A bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly would change that. Senate Bill 7029 allows schools to add the missed days onto the end of a school year, keeping vacation breaks intact. But for now, schools in places like Prince George's County will have three fewer Spring Break days this month.

John White, public information officer with the school district, said rough winter weather is to blame.

"Our community wanted to protect Spring Break, but we had six snow days this year, so we didn't have enough days in the calendar to use," White said. “So, we had to start taking away from Spring Break."

A spokeswoman for Gov. Larry Hogan said the governor is supportive of the legislation and will sign it into law. The change most likely wouldn't take effect until next school year.

The Maryland State Board of Education had a meeting last week in which members of the public voiced their opinions on the potential change. White said the community feedback has been powerful.

"Well, parents and students have been very vocal,” he said. “They value Spring Break, they wanted us to protect Spring Break in our school calendar."

In 2016, the governor signed an executive order requiring that Maryland's school year start after Labor Day and end no later than June 15. This new bill would keep the same start date, but change the ending date depending on how many school days need to be made up.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD