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

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.

 

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