Va. Beach School Board considers shortening calendar

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – School board members will soon vote on the calendar for the 2016-2017 school year.

They must decide if there will be 183 days in the school year, like this year, or if there will be less.

Each year the Virginia Beach school board votes to approve a new calendar.

This year after getting community input, a committee presented a calendar similar to the current one with 183 days, but school board members wanted more options.

There are 183 teaching days on the current calendar. Classes began September 8 and end June 17.

“Trying to get everything in and trying to keep 183 days and fit all that we need to fit in was not doing it. It has become such a difficult task,” Trenace Riggs, President of the Virginia Beach Education Association said.

Riggs wants the calendar to have fewer teaching days.

“We just need to do something that’s going to work for the whole system, not only for teachers and staff but for students and for their families,” Riggs said.

This is a calendar showing the proposed changes, with 180 days.

Riggs said reducing the days in the calendar would mean an earlier start and end date, a longer winter holiday and more efficient staff development days.

“It was built-in for teachers to be able to do planning, working together, collaboration, and it has morphed into more staff meetings and those kind of things,” Riggs said.

Tuesday night, during a school board meeting, a calendar committee presented a 183-day calendar option.

Instead of approving it, board members asked the committee to recreate the calendar with 180 and 181 teaching days for them to consider.

“It’s a whole different school board,” Riggs said.

Cutting days could have an impact on some hourly workers. Riggs said bus drivers support the shorter calendar. She doesn’t think there will be a big impact on the custodial staff.

“They still have to keep them in the schools and they still have to keep the schools clean and they’re going to do the summer cleanup of the schools,” Riggs said.

The Virginia Beach calendar committee meets next week and will decide on the calendar that will be presented to the school board.

The board will vote on February 2.

Here’s the list of Hampton Roads’ school calendars and instructional days:

Virginia Beach – 183

Portsmouth – 181

Hampton – 181

Newport News – 181

Norfolk – 180

Suffolk – 180

Chesapeake – 180

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