Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Narrow Exception to Labor Day Opening Advances

HB 1483 (Del. Cleaveland) provides a narrow exception to the post-Labor Day school opening requirement for a school division that is entirely surrounded by school divisions that have received waivers from the Board of Education to open before Labor Day. Del. Cleaveland has explained that the purpose of his bill is to address a unique situation faced by the Roanoke City Public Schools. Roanoke City Public Schools has a high percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch (70%+). The school system makes every effort to keep the schools open during inclement weather so that the students are fed. Consequently, Roanoke City Public Schools are not closed due to inclement weather as frequently as the surrounding school divisions and, therefore, they do not qualify for a waiver to the post-Labor Day opening requirement under the current waiver system. Del. Cleaveland’s bill would allow Roanoke City Public Schools to have a waiver and operate on the same schedule as the surrounding school divisions. This bill was recommended for reporting by the Public Education Subcommittee of the Senate Education and Health Committee. It was opposed by the hospitality industry and the Governor.