RICHMOND – Lawmakers from across Virginia are pushing a half-dozen bills this legislative session to let public schools start classes before Labor Day.
Delegate Kaye Kory, D-Falls Church, is among legislators sponsoring bills to repeal Virginia’s “King’s Dominion law,” which prevents local schools from opening before Labor Day unless they get special permission from the state.
Kory’s proposal, House Bill 1491, “makes local school boards responsible for setting the school calendar and determining the opening day of the school year.” Currently, school boards can start classes before Labor Day only if they show “good cause” (such as a history of snow-related school closings) and get a waiver from the Virginia Department of Education.
Kory, who has been a PTA leader in Northern Virginia and a member of the Fairfax County School Board, said schools should have the power to set their academic calendars.
HB 1491 would not cost any additional money. The number of days in the school year would remain the same. There are many arguments for allowing school systems to set their own calendar rather than being held back by the “King’s Dominion law.” The most compelling reason for allowing the change would be that most of our students do not work in a tourist related industry over the summer. It seems to me that those localities that depend on high school students for staff should partner with the various theme parks and Williamsburg to make the necessary accommodations and leave the rest of us alone. There are lots of time it looks like PWC and Manassas kids are going to go til the 4th of July.
Opinions? Parents? Educators? Weigh in here please.