Poll: How Do You Feel About FCPS’ August Start Next Year?

by Karen Goff August 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm 34 Comments

FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza speaking at West Potomac High School/FCPS Channel 21It’s the last week of August. Surely you are savoring every last minute with your Fairfax County Public Schools students, catching fireflies and making s’mores and wishing summer would never end.

Or, you may be wincing at your brown lawn and frantically scrambling for child care as camp is gone and school does not start until the day after Labor Day, a full week into September this year.

In any case, this is almost certainly the last year FCPS will begin after Labor Day. After decades of following the “Kings Dominon Rule,” the Virginia law that mandates school begin after Labor Day, FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza has drafted a 2017-18 calendar that has school starting on Aug. 28, 2017. Students will also get out a week earlier in June of 2018

Garza previously said this change is being made to provide more instructional time before winter break; enhanced flexibility to help students and school staff members meet college application deadlines; and to end the school year earlier in June.

The FCPS School Board is expected to give final approval when it votes on the change in the fall.

FCPS was able to make the change to the calendar due to Code of Virginia 22.1-79.1, which allows local Boards of Education to waive the state requirement to begin schools after Labor Day if a district is closed an average of eight days per year during five of the past 10 years due to weather conditions, energy shortages, power failures, or other emergencies.

FCPS qualified 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.

Photo: Karen Garza/file photo


  • qwerty

    What this means to me: the traffic starts sucking again that much earlier.

    • Scott H

      Exactly what I was thinking. Savor the summer traffic around here!

      • censorshipstinks

        But it also starts easing up that much earlier. What is the difference.

        • Why do you bother?

          No, it won’t. Trust me.

          • censorshipstinks

            Yes it will. Going to school in august means that school will be out in May or early June. Traffic is easier when school is out. Trust you. I would trust Killary before I trust you.

          • Why do you bother?

            They’re doing this to allow for snow days, so school won’t still be in session in July. It will snow. They will have to make up days. School won’t be out any earlier.

          • compactdisqus

            school won’t be in session in July…has it ever as a result of many snow days? We are only .4 days over the 8 days.

          • censorshipstinks

            one way or another it is going to extend things. It does not matter one way or another. Either it extends into July or June. Who cares when it does. You just adjust your vacations. I have never seen a problem where schools were still in session for the 4th of July.

  • censorshipstinks

    Maybe Garza should worry about pulling some of the lowest ranking schools in the state up rather than worrying when the precious snowflakes should go to school.

    • Ming the Merciless

      Why would she want to do that? Low-ranking schools are one of her favorite pieces of evidence that FCPS needs more money.

      • BertW

        This is true.

  • compactdisqus


  • Wheatie

    School should start after Labor Day. Plain and simple. It wouldn’t be an issue if they didn’t call snow days whenever there is a single flake in the sky. Buffalo has fewer snow days than Northern Virginia.

    • Mike M

      Well those bizarre waiver conditions might just explain why they were calling school off for little reason. I’d like to know what is really driving this change? It doesn’t make sense on the surface.

      • compactdisqus

        good call…those unnecessary closings got them their .4 over the 8 days needed.

    • Tom

      Perhaps that’s because Buffalo gets a lot more snow and is better prepared to handle it. Winter is a lot more fickle in these parts.

      • Wheatie

        So we should have more snow days because we have less snow? Strange argument. It’s not an issue of resources. We have plenty of snow plows and plenty of people to drive them.

  • Summertime

    I don’t know one single person that voted in favor of this yet it is still is going forward. Very fishy to me.

    • Guest

      No one I know has complained about this change, so there must be universal support.

      • Andy Park

        This is what the average no it all don’t understand. It makes a huge difference. Standardized test dates don’t change so when kids miss days because of snow the test will still take place same time but the lost days will be made up after the test. So this is a way to get at least five more days before the test. And you’re right the days after the test don’t matter so why not have more days before the test.

  • LakeNewportLady

    What’s the big deal? It’s one week earlier and then they get out one week earlier. Looking at Facebook today and last week everyone else around this area has already gone back. People like to make issues out of EVERYTHING.

    • Mike M

      OK. So if it’s a wash, why are they doing it? The arguments in favor fail to compel. There are bigger fish for the board to fry. So, what’s really driving this?

      I’m done after this year, and good riddance. But I would have found it inconvenient.

      • LakeNewportLady

        I have no idea and I really don’t care either way. I don’t think there is some great conspiracy by starting school one week earlier.

        • Greg

          Methinks this is yet one more way to get more money out of the taxpayers. More air conditioning?

          • One Really

            Doesn’t she get enough out of the taxpayers? She just got a bump in salary to 300K. A 7% increase, while she screams about teacher pay. She gets a housing allowance of about 24K and a retirement allocation of 60K+ per year.
            Yet we the tax payers need to pay more.

        • Mike M

          We both have no idea. I am curious, you are not.

    • xtr657

      People make issues out of everything? No one made an issue except the nannies who wanted another change. First they got the late start time. Now they get the early start date. Next they’ll get the schools renamed so as to be politically correct. I just hope none of these changes cost money. Money that the schools apparently don’t have which is why we are voting on a meals tax.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Gotta love it. Got to school one week, then get a long weekend and a short week. What’s next? Teacher work days on the week after Labor Day?

    • xtr657

      Its all the rage now. Start before Labor Day like Maryland and DC. If they are doing it it must be right. I just read an article this morning about how Maryland may be reconsidering because it complicates Labor Day vacationing.

      It was a stupid change to start school the week before a holiday weekend.

      • tiredmom

        All the rage right now? This was how things were for YEARS prior to the so-called Kings Dominion law.

        • compactdisqus

          ‘how things were’ is never a good reason…Maryland wised up and changed back…if you’d like, we can rename it to ‘The ocean is warmer’ law or ‘It’s still too hot out’ law.

  • One really

    All I hear when she talks is whining “more money,. more more…damnit more!!!”.

    Pointless to start before Labor day. The teaching won’t start until after Labor day due to the long weekend. At least my kids will have movie days and summer parties all of June at school. Seems once the SOLs are over no more learning is needed.

  • disqus_FsiA4ZElGk

    I’m not a fan of the idea. Summer seems to go by so fast as is.

  • tiredmom

    Overjoyed! It’s ridiculous that kids are still in school at the end of June.


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