School calendar; local school boards responsible for setting and determining opening of school year. (HB15)

Introduced By

Del. Greg Habeeb (R-Salem)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


School calendar. Makes local school boards responsible for setting the school calendar and determining the opening of the school year and eliminates the post-Labor Day opening requirement and "good cause" scenarios for which the Board of Education may grant waivers of this requirement. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


12/02/2011Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/12 12100490D
12/02/2011Referred to Committee on Education
01/13/2012Assigned Education sub: Teachers and Admin. Action
01/26/2012Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
01/27/2012Impact statement from DPB (HB15)
02/14/2012Left in Education

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB86 and HB1063.


Virginia Fitz Shea writes:

Letting school districts start the school year any old time they choose would lead to further chaos in school schedules. School districts would be more inclined than ever to insert even more early dismissal days, late arrival days, and who knows what else. Also, they would have even less incentive than ever to rectify current inefficiencies in the school schedules.
Governor McDonnell is unwise to advocate leaving schedules to the tender mercies of the local school boards. In Fairfax County parents have waited in vain for several decades for the school district to come its senses and stop dismissing elementary school students two hours early every Monday. The Fairfax County school board has so little interest in adequate school schedules that it delegated the authority to set the length of the school day to the superintendent. Parents must rely on the Virginia General Assembly to set certain standards. There should be no change in the start date unless a thorough study is made of all the provisions in the law that relate to schedules. I think it will become clear that clarification of the total hours in the school year is very important. If we just keep the current confusing system of requiring 990 hours per year, not including lunch and recess, it will remain very difficult for citizens to understand what is really going on.

Sheila Robinson writes:

Are you kidding? A school district does not have the wherewithal to determine its startdate? And it would go overboard in early dismissal/late arrival days??? Give me a break!!! God forbid that more people should be satisfied with the school calendar and that it would work better for them!

Nathalie Benton writes:

990 hours devided by 180 school days (the required amount) comes out to 5.5 hour days. Add in a 30 min lunch break and 20 min recess break and you still fall short of the 7 hour day Fairfax County students put in. The county matches requirements of hours and days set forth by the state and then goes over just in case there are weather related changes (or other). Quantity of hours and days remain mandated by the state despite the local school board choosing a start date that better suits the needs of the student, teacher, and community. For example, having an extra week of school prior to mandated testing as opposed to after it.

Virginia Fitz Shea writes:

Fairfax County does NOT have a 7-hour day for elementary school students. Currently some students in Fairfax County are in school for six hours and 35 minutes per day Tuesday through Friday, while others are in school for six hours and 40 minutes. On Mondays, students are in school either four hours and 30 minutes or four hours and 10 minutes. So the elementary school students in Fairfax County attend school for 30 hours and 50 minutes per week—this is the equivalent of six hours and 10 minutes per day if it were evenly distributed each day.
Therefore, Fairfax also does NOT allow enough time in the student schedule to allow recess periods of 20 minutes.Under the Standards of Accreditation, "The standard school day for students in grades 1 through 12 shall average at least 5 1/2 hours, excluding breaks for meals and recess, and a minimum of 3 hours for kindergarten."
So, assuming a 30 minute lunch period, the time for the standard school day plus lunch is 30 hours per week. Any time in school over 30 hours per week could be available for recess. So with only 50 additional minutes per week, 10 minutes per day is all that is available for recess. It is true that many students are allowed to spend a longer time at recess. However, that means they do not have the amount of time in the standard school day called for in the Standards of Accreditation.
It would be unfortunate if one of the school calendar bills becomes law. Then Fairfax would say, this is the magic solution to our time issues--we could not possibly also cope with trying to think about fixing the daily and weekly schedules.