FCPS Wants Your Opinion on School Start Date

by Karen Goff April 7, 2016 at 10:10 am 11 Comments

fcps logoFairfax County Public Schools are seeking opinions on when the school year should begin. The FCPS School Board says it is seriously considering starting school before Labor Day in 2017-18, a change from the traditional September start here.

Parents can access and take the quick online survey to provide their feedback.

The board will vote on the calendar change April 28. If FCPS makes any changes, they would not go into effect until the 2017-18 school year.

The 2016-17 calendar has already been adopted, 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.

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