Will Oakdale Start School Early Next Year?

A recent bill was pushed through, overturning Governor Hogan’s veto, and allowing schools to choose their start date

Will Oakdale Start School Early Next Year?

Elijah Royal

Students who love their summer crash time may find their adventures cut short by a recent change in school starting dates.


Previously, Maryland law forced schools to start after Labor Day, which lands on the first Monday of September every year. According to a Delmarva Now publication, Governor Hoganwho mandated the Labor Day start dateclaimed that a “post-Labor Day start would add $74.3 million in direct activity to Maryland’s economy, $3.7 million in new wages and $7.7 million in state and local tax revenue.” 


Opponents of the law, including many BOE members, felt less convinced about the law’s benefits, arguing that the measure was putting profits over the education of Maryland’s school-age children. 


In an effort to justify his mandate, Governor Hogan stated that pushing the school start date forward was one of the most popular decisions he’s made as governor. According to the Baltimore Sun, a Gonzales Research & Media Services poll found that more than 56% of respondents supported the Labor Day start date, with less than 40% in favor of letting the schools choose for themselves. 


Now that Governor Hogan’s order has been overturned, some Maryland counties are considering earlier start dates and potentially allowing more snow days while also extending spring break to a full week. With an earlier start to the school year, counties will feel less pressure if they lose days to inclement weather. 


Starting the year-earlier would also give students more instruction time in school, which despite the groaning from moody teenagers, would help spread out the workload and give teachers more time for review days before tests and exams. 


So far FCPS’s Board of Education hasn’t yet decided whether they will start before or after Labor Day. They plan to form a decision in the coming months, with the new date coming into effect for the 2020-2021 school year. 


Oakdale students had mixed opinions about changing the school date. One sophomore, Evan Royal voiced support for an earlier start date saying he thought it was a good idea because in his words:  “The school would be more likely to give us snow days because [of] extra variability in the schedule.” 


In other words, the school wouldn’t be so pressed to meet a certain quota of instruction days for students. Another student, Elise Smith, sophomore, stated, “A longer spring break and more snow days…” would not be enough to sway her in favor of an earlier start date. She further continued saying that “by making school start after Labor Day, fall sports can have a longer preseason, causing them to be more prepared for the regular season.” 


An earlier school start date could potentially shorten the preseason or even push it further back in the summer. ¨Some students prefer having a long summer and many even hold jobs where their work season lasts right up to or even past Labor Day,¨ explained Nicholas Moyer.


Whatever FCPS’s school board decides, the next school year will still be in the distant future. Until then, Oakdale students will have to rely on the tenacity and adaptability they have demonstrated since the very beginning. 

“Some students prefer having a long summer and many even hold jobs where their work season lasts right up to or even past Labor Day,” ”

— Nicholas Moyer