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Poll: Should Virginia Do Away With ‘Kings Dominion’ Law?

by Karen Goff August 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm 1,043 13 Comments

FCPS School BusIt’s Aug. 21, and students across the river in Maryland and across the country have either started the new school year or will return on Monday.

Not in Virginia, where the new school year always begins after Labor Day.

That is because of the “Kings Dominion” law, a 1986 Virginia statute that mandates school start in September. When the law was passed, it was helped along by the tourism industry, which said it needed students as staffers (and families to keep on vacationing) through Labor Day. Thus, the amusement park moniker.

In almost every Virginia General Assembly session, bills are introduced asking for local school districts to be allowed exemptions from the rule to make their own calendar.  In the 2014 session, a Virginia Senate committee passed over a bill that would have allowed local school boards to open for classes before Labor Day. The bill, sponsored by Del. Tag Greason (R-Loudoun), passed easily in the House.

Meanwhile, Fairfax County Public Schools has made drastic changes to the school calendar, beginning in 2014-15. FCPS has eliminated elementary school “mini Mondays” and added in more snow days. But still, school begins — by law — on Sept. 2.

What’s your opinion? Should school start in August or September? Should local school boards be allowed to at least make their own decisions? Take our poll and elaborate in the comments.


  • vdiv

    Year-round school!
    (runs away and hides) 😉

    • Chuck Morningwood

      Absolutely, year round school. It makes so much more sense than turning off the learning for three solid months.

      • AG

        They dont get 3 months off. It was barely 2 months this summer.

  • Vwa

    September 2! Why? First, everyone knows exactly when school starts and when their commute time will double – no surprises! Second, it is a great time for a last summer hurrah! There are fewer people at the beach (and other touristy places), but everything on the boardwalk is still open for business.

  • DG

    Why bring this up every year, again and again …?

    • Karen Goff

      We’ve only been in business here since November. So not so much year after year. And also, people like to talk about it.

      • DG

        Seems like beating a dead horse (was Patch last year). Similar sentiment to later start-time for high school conversation. What’s definition of madness – keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result 🙂

        • Mike M

          Ahem, . . . did they not change the school start time?

          • DG

            No still talking about it

  • Reza Zandi

    Just take away school all together. There, solved it with one sentence.

  • Delsin Rowe

    Considering FCPS went until 6/25 and then overreacted with full day elementary school Mondays and random days off, after Labor Day sounds great. 3 months? No, 2 month summer vacation.

  • B. Anderson

    Local school districts should be able to decide their starting date. Some areas of our state have quite a bit of snow days to contend with. Having to start after Labor Day in some years puts the starting date in the second week of September. When that happens, the school year has to go well into June and sometimes in the third week of June. Local School Boards should be able to start school before Labor Day when it falls in the second week of September or anytime it falls after September 5th.

  • DG

    Once SOLs are done, the teachers stop teaching anyway, so why extend school by starting earlier or ending later. I vote to end school when the last SOL is done. No point I’m sending the kids to school just for class parties and to watch movies.


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