FCPS Will Ask Families What They Think of Pre-Labor Day Start

by Karen Goff March 16, 2016 at 10:00 am 16 Comments

fcps logoThe Fairfax County School Board is seriously considering starting school before Labor Day in 2017-18.

The school board’s Public Engagement Committee (PEC) will discuss the matter at a work session on Thursday. The PEC is planning an online survey to gauge community opinion on the calendar, says school board At-Large member Ryan McElveen, who chairs the PEC.

The survey will take place in April, and the board will vote on the calendar change April 28, he added.

The 2016-17 calendar will not change. That was adopted in December, and school will begin on Sept. 6, 2016.

In Fairfax County, school has for decades started the day after Labor Day in accordance with the Virginia “Kings Dominion” law.

The law is 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.

Recent attempts to change the law in the Virginia General Assembly have failed.

But the  Code of Virginia (22.1-79.1), allows local Boards of Education to waive the state requirement to begin schools after Labor Day if a district is closed an average of 8 days per year during five of the past 10 years due to weather conditions, energy shortages, power failures, or other emergencies.

FCPS qualifies for the waiver because, during five of the past 10 years, the district has averaged 8.4 days missed due to weather conditions and other events.

Based upon this current average of missed days, the waiver option will continue at least through the 2019-20 school year, FCPS said in a release.

Do you think the school system should make the change?

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