Short summer for kids: How very unfair, indeed

February 16, 1993|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Staff Writer

The summer of '93 promises to be unusually short for Baltimore County students and teachers. Blame it on late Labor Day.

This school year, classes started after Labor Day and will close June 18, at the earliest. Next school year, according to a calendar the county school board approved last week, classes will begin Aug. 30, a week before Labor Day. That means summer vacation will last just 10 weeks, compared with about 12 weeks for previous summers. It will be even shorter for teachers, who are scheduled to report Aug. 24.

"Have we heard anything about [a conflict with] the state fair?" board member Alan Leber knight asked before the vote to approve the calendar.

"No, but we will," Superintendent Stuart Berger said. The fair runs Aug. 28 through Sept. 6 at the fairgrounds in Timonium.

The Harford County school board heard plenty from parents and students unhappy about a similar calendar change for the coming school year. Most vocal were families involved in 4-H. They said they would have to choose between fair events and school.

In Baltimore County, however, board members said they had received only two letters and two phone calls in opposition to the early opening date. That may have been because few people had been notified of the change.

"I was not aware that this decision was being made," said Debbie Bowman, the 4-H agent for Baltimore County. "How it will affect us, I'm not sure. We have 250 [students] who do participate in the fair. The state fair for us is our evaluation of our work, just as final exams are in school," she said.

Dr. Berger said the schools will make "the accommodations that need to be made if youngsters have a legitimate need to be doing something else" during the first week of school.

Although the Baltimore County board seemed content with the earlier starting date, its members did haggle over Christmas vacation and a long February weekend. At the urging of board president Rosalie Hellman, members took a day from the December vacation and added it to the Presidents' Day weekend observance, giving teachers and students a four-day winter break.

According to the calendar, schools will close June 10, 1994, making the summer of 1994 about the usual length.

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