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Spring break begins next week for students in the York County School Division, but the School Board is already thinking about the next year’s school calendar.
Board members approved the division’s 2015-16 school calendar at their meeting Monday night in a 4-0 vote. Board member Page Minter was not at the meeting due to illness.
The approved calendar pegs Sept. 8 for the first day of school, and ends June 16, 2016, with graduation scheduled for June 17. Because of the state’s so-called Kings Dominion Law, Virginia schools cannot begin the school year prior to Labor Day, which is Sept. 7 this year.
YCSD Chief Operations Officer Carl James said the approved calendar features about 1,008 hours and 32 minutes for the 2015-16 school year. The additional time over the state requirements builds in enough time to make up for about three weather-related cancellations.
With heavy winters causing higher-than-usual missed class days, the school board is also considering changes to school start times. The approved calendar does not include any start time changes, but the board will continue its discussion at its April work session.
The approved calendar features a two-week winter break, from Dec. 21 to Jan. 1, and a four-day break for Thanksgiving, beginning with an early dismissal the Wednesday before the holiday.
Spring break for the 2015-16 school year would be held during the week of April 4 and 8.
The calendar contains 180 school days, 194 days for new teachers, 192 days for returning teachers, and 17 holidays for 12-month employees.
None of the board members present for Monday’s meeting commented on the calendar, and no substantive changes were made to the draft originally released March 9. At a March 11 work session, School Board member Cindy Kirschke said there was little the board could change, given the constraints of the Kings Dominion law and state class time requirements.
State law requires school divisions to convene class for 180 days and include at least 990 hours of instructional time in their academic calendars.
YCSD’s calendar was created in collaboration with the regional calendar committee, an effort between the Peninsula’s six school divisions and consisting of one member from each.
The committee coordinates major holidays and schedules for regional partnership, like the New Horizons Regional Education Center.