ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Gov. Larry Hogan and Treasurer Nancy Kopp sparred Wednesday over Hogan’s executive order to start school after Labor Day, a move the treasurer described as “an abuse of executive authority.”
The two clashed at the start of a Board of Public Works meeting, after Comptroller Peter Franchot praised last week’s decision to start school after Labor Day and end by June 15 with the required 180 days of class.
“I think this is an abuse of executive authority,” Kopp, a Democrat, said. “I was very surprised to see it happen. We have a long history of local governance of the schools.”
The treasurer said she looks forward to an attorney general’s opinion on Hogan’s action.
Hogan, a Republican, has pointed to legislative inaction and polls showing a majority of Marylanders support the later start. The governor and the comptroller have advocated the later start to increase family time and boost tourism.
“So we’re just doing the people’s business,” Hogan said. “We have every right to do so. We do control the executive branch of government. We’re just providing a start date and an end date, and the school systems all get to make up their own calendar in between.
The governor noted a nonpartisan task force voted 12-3 in 2014 to recommend schools begin after Labor Day. But Kopp, who’s elected by the legislature, said the commission never proposed using an executive order to implement the change.
“Perhaps shortening the holidays will work,” Kopp said. “We don’t know, but I’m sorry it was done this way. I think it was a misuse of authority.”
“This nonsense about we’re going to do away with Christmas and spring break is ridiculous,” Hogan said. “Some of these school systems have 15 mandated days off by the teachers union to do various things. You don’t have to skip a single day of spring break.”
Hogan, Kopp and Franchot are the three members of the Board of Public Works.
“Gosh, I’m sorry I brought the subject up,” Franchot said, after the governor and treasurer started talking over each other.