Education, Politics

BCPS survey: should schools start before or after Labor Day?

baltimore-county-public-schools-bcpsTOWSON, MD – Should the start of school for Baltimore County Public Schools be Monday, August 26, or Tuesday, September 3? The school system is looking for guidance from the public through an online survey (click here) now available through Friday, May 31.

The BCPS calendar for 2019-2020 was approved by the Board of Education on March 5, 2019, under the assumption that the student school day of 6.5 hours would be extended by 15 minutes. However, the budget proposed to the County Council by County Executive Johnny Olszewski did not include funding for the additional 15 minutes.

That leaves a calendar for 2019-2020 that only provides a 30-minute cushion for the 180 student days and 1,170 student hours required by the Maryland State Department of Education. The calendar must be adjusted to reasonably accommodate emergency or inclement weather closures.

In addition, the Teachers Association of Baltimore County has not agreed to renew the current school year’s memorandum of understanding to add five minutes to the student day, which provided a cushion of 18.5 hours for the 2018-2019 school year. The additional five minutes would have provided a cushion of 15.2 hours for the 2019-2020 school year.

Now that school systems can start the school year before Labor Day, the following two calendar options have been proposed.

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  • Pre Labor Day start: Schools would start on Monday, August 26, 2019, and a full spring break would be included in the calendar from Monday, April 6, through Monday, April 13. (Spring break would be 10 days total in length including six school days.) Teachers would start the school year on Tuesday, August 20, 2019. The last day for students would be on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. The last day for teachers would be Thursday, June 17, 2020. The Pre Labor Day calendar option is available online.
  • Post Labor Day start: Schools would start after Labor Day on Tuesday, September 3, 2019, with a shortened spring break from Wednesday, April 8, through Monday, April 13, 2020. (Spring break would be six days total in length including four school days.) Teachers would start the school year on Tuesday, August 27, 2019. The last day for students would be on Friday, June 19, 2020. The last day for teachers would be Monday, June 22, 2020. The Post Labor Day calendar option is available online.

All members of the public are encouraged to choose their preferred calendar option through the online survey in advance of the Board of Education’s vote on the 2019-2020 calendar during its meeting on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

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