EducationLocalPrince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Prince George’s Students May Start School Before Labor Day

Prince George’s County Public Schools could join other school systems in Maryland to revert to marking the first day of school before Labor Day.

According to two proposed options, the 2020-21 school year would start Aug. 31 and end June 15, barring closings for inclement weather.

School board member Belinda Queen’s daughter, Sharnae Via, 19, supports starting the school year after Labor Day.

“I felt I did better [in school],” said Via, who graduated last year from Central High School in Capitol Heights.

Queen said she’s heard from some parents who want their children to start school after Labor Day, especially those with families in other countries. Although Queen enjoys spending vacation time before the September holiday with her stepchildren and grandchildren, she said it helps teachers build in professional development days for staff.

“If that development day is needed for them to be great teachers and to have that good spirit teaching my children and my grandchildren … I say give them that professional development day,” she said. “As a parent, I always adjust. In society, you learn to adjust.”

According to this year’s school calendar, there are five professional development days after the first day of school, including three teacher days when school ends three hours early for students and schools are closed. In the proposed 2020-21 calendar, there would be six days — schools would be closed for three days and two-hour early dismissal for three other days.

Before the board makes a formal decision, parents and guardians have until Jan. 2 to participate in an online survey. The survey doesn’t specifically ask about the Labor Day proposal, but the last questions allow participants to provide any other suggestions or comments about the calendar.

Other questions include the reinstatement to close schools on the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, institute the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr and whether to have parent-teacher conferences on Oct. 12 (Columbus Day) or Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).

The board isn’t scheduled to formally approve the school calendar until Jan. 9.

In the meantime, school boards in Baltimore City and Montgomery, Frederick and Anne Arundel counties already chose to begin school before Labor Day. Baltimore County will have students return Sept 8, one day after Labor Day.

School systems received the autonomy to organize its calendars after the Democratic-controlled Maryland General Assembly overturned a veto this year from Gov. Larry Hogan who instituted an executive order in 2016 for every school to start after Labor Day.

Hogan, who made the official announcement in Worchester County in Ocean City where schools historically started after the holiday, has argued it allows families more time to spend together near the end of the summer, students not spending time in hot classrooms and can save schools money.

However, opponents argued students lose academic time away from the school and parents spent more money on child care when some summer camps and other activities would end in early August.

Back in Prince George’s, schools CEO Monica Goldson unveiled a proposed $2.3 billion fiscal year 2021 budget that seeks to incorporate some recommendations form the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, also known as the Kirwan Commission.

According to a budget summary, the spending plan would increase by $119 million, or 5.4 percent, from the current budget.

The biggest expenditure, similar to all school districts, rests with salaries and employee benefits that account for 82 percent of the expenditures.

About 55 percent of the school system’s revenue comes from the state for special education, free and reduced lunch meals and expand pre-kindergarten.

The budget also calls for hiring additional weekend maintenance staff in a county where more than half of the school buildings are at least 50 years old.

Community sessions on the budget are scheduled for Jan. 21 and 28 and Feb. 4. Although the school board approves the budget, the law allows the county council the final say.

Tags
Show More

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker