Kings Dominion passes key vote in Virginia House

Hank Silverberg,

RICHMOND – Efforts to do away with the so called King’s Dominion law that prohibits Va. schools from opening before Labor Day has cleared a key hurdle. But the repeal still faces another road block.

The House of Delegates has approved the repeal. But similar bills have already been rejected in the Senate. Sources tell WTOP one or two votes from senators whose districts recently changed and now include tourism could hold up the legislation.

Educators have been pushing to do away with the law, which they say hurts Virginia students in competition on national tests.

But the tourism industry has pushed hard to keep the law, saying an earlier school start would cost millions in lost revenue.

It’s not clear if the state senate will approve the version of the repeal that has cleared the house.

There’s been heavy back-and-forth between those concerned about the impact on Virginia’s tourism industry and those backing educators, who say the late start hurts students on national tests.

Educators say they need more class time before Labor Day in order to compete with other states. Dozens of school systems already open before Labor Day in the state, but they must seek a waiver each year.

Most local school districts in Northern Virginia do not open until after Labor Day. When they’ve sought waivers from the state, they’ve been rejected.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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