So, why does the General Assembly insist on schools starting after the holiday? We're told one major factor that influences the General Assembly's decision to start school after Labor Day is tourism. The idea is that if summer is longer, then more families will travel, bringing in more money to Virginia.
However, not all districts say that works well for them. We spoke with Pittsylvania County Superintendent James McDaniel who says they need the extra time.
And many Delegates agree the schools should be able to decide on their own. Both Danny Marshall and Les Adams voted to allow school districts to make that decision for themselves. They say each district knows what their students, teachers, and parents need and they should choose for themselves. McDaniel tells us starting early is the best way to go for their students. In fact, McDaniel can only remember one year they started after Labor Day.
"Getting the SOL test completed prior to the break as well is beneficial to our students. We don't have to worry about the loss of retention of information over the holiday break," says McDaniel.
Pittsylvania County was eligible for a waiver this year based on the 2011-2012 school year's waiver due to weather concerns. Many of the school districts had similar eligibility.