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Sen. Paul Pinsky
Sen. Paul Pinsky (The Daily Record/Bryan P. Sears)

Pinsky: Late school start puts profits ahead of children

Not everyone is a fan of starting school later and you can safely count Sen. Paul G. Pinsky amongst the members of that group.

Ocean City Sign

A sign in Ocean City, Maryland calls for a post-Labor Day start to schools. (The Daily Record/Bryan P. Sears)

Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat and incoming vice chairman of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Matters Committee, told a gathering of teachers in no uncertain terms that he finds the proposal championed by Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot to be “ridiculous” and “substantively embarrassing.”

“There’s a bumper sticker that says ‘People before profit.” Well it’s kids before profit,” Pinsky told a gathering of educators in Annapolis Monday.

“To pass a state policy to help a community, a business community, increase their profits is absurd. In fact, I believe we should be looking at year round school. We should be looking at creative ways to engage students,” Pinsky said.

Franchot, the state’s tax collector, began a petition drive to encourage the General Assembly to pass legislation that would push the start of schools across the state until after Labor Day. The change would result in more than $74 million in direct economic impact in Maryland and $8 million in additional state tax revenue as well as additional quality time for Maryland families, Franchot said.

But Pinsky isn’t buying into it.

“To adopt a policy so people can still either attend a summer vacation or be able to work there and try to foist that on the state of Maryland is shameful. I think we ought to reject that as strongly as we can and tell people, you know, let’s put kids first, not your small narrow economic well-being for one community,” Pinsky said.

A recent poll conducted by the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College found widespread support for a delayed school start across all demographic boundaries.

Gov. Martin J. O'Malley petition

Gov. Martin J. O’Malley signs a petition calling for a post-Labor Day start to school during a Sept. 3, 2014 meeting of the Board of Public Works. (The Daily Record/Bryan P. Sears)

Overall, 71 percent of those asked said they supported moving the start of school until after Labor Day while 17 percent said they opposed, according to the poll.

Franchot announced a drive in August to collect 10,000 signatures in support of the delay that he intends to present to legislators.

The comptroller told the Cumberland Times-News earlier this month that he is well on his way to meeting that goal.

One of those signing the petition was Gov. Martin J. O’Malley.

Franchot declined to address Pinsky’s criticism other than to say:

“The senator and I have an honest disagreement,” Franchot said.