Lawmakers and some school divisions are trying to repeal the Kings Dominion law, which prohibits Virginia school divisions from starting school before Labor Day. The first attempt failed in the General Assembly, however, there is another bill currently under consideration. This new regulatory policy would cause a system change not only in school divisions but also in the tourism industry.
The tourism industry is against this bill because of the impact it would have on the industry. Their summer workforce would be weakened due to students starting school early. In addition, families with children already in school would have to cut their vacation time short during the three-day Labor Day holiday weekend. There would be a major system change in how the industry does business, and the economic impact would be significant.
My school division is currently considering applying for a waiver from the Kings Dominion Law in order to maximize student instruction. If given the opportunity, my district would start school on August 20th. Starting earlier would allow schools to administer exams and end the semester before winter break. However, the current law states that a school division must show “good cause” in order to receive a waiver. Some districts are granted waivers because of the excessive amount of inclement weather days during the winter.
The bill to repeal the Kings Dominion Law can be reasonably implemented if we begin drafting the new school calendar now, giving teachers and parents the opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions. Moving the start of school up would not cause a financial burden on districts. I strongly believe the advantages of this bill outweigh the disadvantages.