No August opening for Virginia schools likely

WASHINGTON – Once again, efforts to allow Virginia schools to open before Labor Day have effectively died in the General Assembly.

A House bill that would have repealed what is known as the “Kings Dominion law” is unlikely to be considered by the Senate, which voted down a similar bill last week.

Northern Virginia school districts have been pushing for years to change the law so they could open in late August, like many schools across the country, without seeking a waiver from the Virginia Board of Education.

School officials argue that starting after the Labor Day holiday puts their students at an academic disadvantage on national tests.

But tourist destinations, such as amusement parks and beaches, say they need their student workers for that extra week or two. And the tourist industry continues to pressure lawmakers.

“I do know the business community particularly from the tourist areas Williamsburg, Tidewater, that area, opposed it,” says Del. Tom Rust, R-Herndon.

“All the schools in North Carolina go back much earlier and it doesn’t seem to have a negative impact on their tourist areas there.”

Efforts to repeal the law last year also passed the House but failed in the Senate.

WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow @hsilverbergWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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