Henrico considers earlier start to school year

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Leaders of Henrico County Public Schools have begun exploring the possibility of starting classes before Labor Day.

At a work session Thursday, school leaders will discuss a waiver that, if approved, would allow HCPS to begin school two weeks (10 instructional days) earlier than usual, effective in 2013.

The waiver would allow HCPS to bypass Virginia's so-called "King's Dominion law", which requires school divisions to begin classes after Labor Day. A repeal of the law failed, again, during this year's General Assembly session after tourism industry lobbyists successfully argued that the industry depends on access to young people during the closing weeks of summer.

According to the waiver, HCPS describes the early start as an "innovative program" that would improve student achievement. Under the current proposal, the school year would not be extended, rather the entire schedule would be moved up by two weeks.

The waiver would have to be approved by the State Board of Education.

More than half of the public school divisions in Virginia currently have a waiver, but almost all were granted the waiver for weather-related reasons.

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