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

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


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