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Roanoke schools likely to open before Labor Day
A preliminary calendar with a pre-Labor Day start date gained favor with the school board.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Roanoke school officials discussed the system’s potential 2013-14 calendar Tuesday and appear poised to approve a pre-Labor Day start date.
The Roanoke School Board was presented with two calendar options, one with a beginning before the summer holiday and one with a start after. The school system’s calendar committee created the two options, sought feedback and presented the board with the two most popular versions.
Officials favored the earlier start date and will likely vote on it next month.
The pre-Labor Day start calendar has classes beginning Aug. 19 and ending May 29. The later start date has classes beginning Sept. 3 and ending June 11.
Both proposed versions have the same holidays. According to each, Thanksgiving break would be Nov. 28 and 29, winter break would be Dec. 23 to Jan. 3 and spring break would be April 21 to 25. Officials said the spring break coincides with Roanoke County’s and Salem’s.
Both calendars also include four professional development days, eight teacher service days and two parent-teacher conference days.
Superintendent Rita Bishop noted that significant work went into creating two separate calendars.
For months, school system officials in the Roanoke Valley have wondered whether they would be able to continue starting classes before Labor Day. Virginia law stipulates that school systems must begin after Labor Day unless they receive a state waiver.
Roanoke County has started before the summer holiday for almost 20 years, and recently the city also began starting early, but that looked in jeopardy earlier this month. Bills doing away with the so called “Kings Dominion law,” intended to protect the tourism industry, failed to gain support in the General Assembly.
But earlier this month, the House and Senate passed separate bills containing a grandfather clause so school systems, such as those in Roanoke, could keep their waivers.
Roanoke County officials felt confident enough to approve a calendar with a pre-Labor Day start two weeks ago, and a budget bill passed Saturday including the early start provision.
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