Wicomico Schools Approve Post-Labor Day Start For Next Year

SALISBURY – Officials with the Wicomico County Board of Education have approved a post-Labor Day start calendar for the 2017-2018 school year.

School for most students will start Sept. 5, 2017 and end June 12, 2018. It’s the first time in many years Wicomico will start after Labor Day.

Spokeswoman Tracy Sahler said 72 percent of those who responded to the board’s request for input earlier in the fall voted in favor of a Sept. 5 start. The remaining 28 percent voted against.

Officials said 250 individuals voted in favor of a post-Labor Day start, whereas 96 supported a pre-Labor Day start.

“We always ask for input, and depending on the look of the calendar sometimes we receive more input than we do in other years,” she said. “This year, with the school calendar dates so much in the news, a high level of input is not surprising.”

Approximately 346 community members voted one way or the other, but Sahler said the number does not reflect those who had suggestions or comments that did not address the start date. She said the total number of responses surpassed 346.

The Board of Education released two calendar options earlier in the year, before Gov. Larry Hogan announced a mandate that requires all public schools to start after Labor Day and end by June 15.

Officials said the new calendar fulfills both the executive order and state policies on instruction time and holiday observances.

Sahler said the response to this year’s survey was larger than previous years, but did not capture the largest interest.

“We actually had a few dozen more people respond the year before, though,” she said. “The big difference among the draft calendars that year was whether to have a full two weeks off for the winter break, which was overwhelmingly favored.”

Sahler said the new school calendar is listed online.

“We’ve started the process of sharing the 2017-2018 school calendar through our website, email, and media so our families and staff know in plenty of time what the schedule will be for next school year. We get out the word every way we can to make sure people know how to give input, and it seems to be making a difference in getting people informed about and engaged in the calendar development process. It’s great for the board to have input from so many people prior to making a decision.”

The Worcester County Board of Education is also seeking the public’s help in determining the academic calendar for next year.

Both options on the table in Worcester begin the school year Sept. 5. The “frequent flyer” calendar gives students longer holiday breaks and ends the school year June 15. The “surfers” calendar gives students shorter holiday breaks, but ends the academic year June 13.

As of Monday, Carrie Sterrs, public relations coordinator with Worcester County Public Schools, said 585 individuals have responded to the survey. Approximately 63 percent of voters are in favor of the “frequent flyer” calendar.

She said individuals have until midnight of Jan. 27 to respond to the survey and can find the form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/1718WCPSCalendarOptions.

Worcester County officials will adopt one of the calendars in February.

To view Wicomico County Public School’s full academic calendar, visit the Wicomico County Board of Education website at https://www.wcboe.org/.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.