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Residents react to idea of starting school after Labor Day in Md.

August 19, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

As Lester Kenny and Candace Insley of Hagerstown shopped for back-to-school supplies for their children Monday, both agreed that they would prefer it if school started after Labor Day.

“It gives the kids a chance to finish their summer out and go for their last vacation,” Kenny said.

Insley said that pushing the start of school later “makes more sense.”

“It gives you a little bit more time to get ready,” she said. “Summer’s awful short.”

Washington County Public Schools open Wednesday.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has publicly expressed his support for pushing the start of school to after Labor Day in Maryland, citing the economic benefits from extending the tourist season, according to published reports.

The state Bureau of Revenue Estimates projected in a report released last week that the change would provide a $74.3 million economic boost to Maryland, including $3.7 million in new wages, and $7.7 million in state and local revenue.

Among nine parents and students in Washington County who spoke Monday with The Herald-Mail about the suggestion, six said they support it, one spoke against it, one was indifferent, and one said she would support it under a certain condition.

Audrey Flaherty, a student at Clear Spring High School, said she does not support pushing the start of school ahead, because the end of the school year would be pushed forward, too.

“I’d rather just get it out of the way,” said Audrey, 16, of Hagerstown. “I wouldn’t want to change it suddenly.”

Audrey’s mother, Cherry Flaherty, 42, of Hagerstown said she would support moving the start of school to after Labor Day if the school year were compressed and still ended at the same time.

“I think they need that summer break,” she said. “In order to get the summer time, it’s nice to get out in the first part of June.”

Marty Weedon, 56, of Hagerstown, who has children in school in Washington County,  said he supports pushing the start of school to after Labor Day. He noted that the school year could be compressed by getting rid of vacation days and snow days during the year.

“That’s the way it was when I was a kid,” he said. “I’m old-fashioned.”

Killana Wallace of Hagerstown, who goes to North Hagerstown High School, said that she supports it, too.

“I think it’d be great to have a longer summer,” said Killana, 15.

Cathy Burk, 60, of Williamsport also said she supports it as she was doing back-to-school shopping for her grandchildren Monday.

“That’s the way it was when we started school,” she said. “It was better, because it seems like summer is over at that time, and people take vacations then.”

Dacia Cook of Hagerstown, who was also doing back-to-school shopping with her children Monday, said that she does not care what happens.

“It doesn’t make a difference,” she said. “It’s not a problem for me.”

Cook, 35, said that growing up in New York, she never started school until after Labor Day.

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