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The school board adopted the 2013-14 calendar on Tuesday.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The Roanoke County School Board approved a pre-Labor Day start date for next school year in keeping with a longtime practice of beginning school early, one that looked to be in jeopardy this year.
School system spokesman Chuck Lionberger said in an email that the board approved a 2013-14 school calendar with classes beginning before the summer holiday.
Last month, board members mulled a later start date , which would have been the first time in 19 years that county students started after Labor Day.
For decades, Virginia law has required school systems to begin classes after Labor Day unless they get a waiver from the state. The so-called “Kings Dominion law” was intended to protect the tourism industry.
Roanoke County has previously qualified for a waiver based on the number of inclement weather days it has had, but so far this year the system hasn’t had enough days to be eligible.
The board has historically approved its calendar in December or early January, but delayed approval this year hoping for some assistance from the General Assembly.
While several bills proposed to give school systems flexibility with their calendars failed to gain support in Richmond, budget bills passed last week by the Senate and House of Delegates have a provision for the county and the city to keep their pre-Labor Day openings next school year.
If the provisions survive budget negotiations, they would also need Gov. Bob McDonnell’s approval. Last year, McDonnell did support repealing the law that stipulates schools begin after the summer holiday.
County officials struggled with the need to make a decision so parents could make summer plans, but finally voted on a calendar Tuesday.
Superintendent Lorraine Lange said when reached by phone Tuesday evening that the board opted to begin the Tuesday before Labor Day.
“If something happens, we’re going to have to change. But we know the House and Senate passed it, and we feel we’ll be getting the one-year reprieve again,” she said.
The first day of school will be Aug. 27, and the last day of classes will be June 4. Winter break is set for Dec. 23 through Jan. 1 and spring break April 18 through April 25.
n In other news, Lionberger said the board discussed a pilot program to outsource maintenance work at three schools starting this summer. He said the board is expected to vote on the program at its next meeting as part of the consent agenda.
If approved, the Ohio-based GCA Services Group would take over the maintenance work at Hidden Valley High, Cave Spring Middle and Cave Spring Elementary schools for one year beginning July 1.
The move is expected to save the system $64,000 and Lionberger emphasized that current full-time employees will not lose their jobs. System officials plan to use attrition.
Weather JournalEarly mix, then ice storm Sunday