An overwhelming number of Maryland residents support efforts to delay the start of the state school year until after Labor Day.
A new poll of 708 residents released by the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College found that 71 percent of those asked said they supported moving the start of school until after Labor Day while 17 percent said they opposed.
Mileah Kromer, director of the center, said she decided to add the question to the poll after seeing Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot speaking on the issue and claiming it had wide-spread support.
“I didn’t want to prove him wrong, I just wanted to find out if he was right,” Kromer said. “It turns out he is right. His idea is so common sense that people don’t question it.”
Support for the issue crosses all demographic boundaries.
The poll found 65 percent of men and 77 percent of women supported the change. Democrats, Republicans and independents also said they support it in large numbers—68 percent, 77 percent and 75 percent respectively. More than 70 percent of both black and white voters also support the change while 65 percent of those who identified themselves as another race said they supported the change.
Franchot is spearheading a petition effort meant to encourage the General Assembly to take up the issue. Franchot said a later start—in many cases adding a week to the end of summer—would provide an economic benefit.
“These are tough economic times, let’s be honest,” Franchot said during an August news conference on the Boardwalk in Ocean City. “These are difficult times and we need to do anything we can to help small businesses increase economic activity.”
Some economists said that benefit might be hard to define but also said there was no reason not to support making the change.