Loudoun County School Board

Members of the Loudoun County School Board

The Loudoun County School Board adjusted the 2019-2020 school year calendar during its Tuesday night meeting following recent legislation out of Richmond.

The board originally approved the 2019-20 calendar on Dec. 11. That calendar, which had school starting on Aug. 22 and ending on June 9, included two weeks of Winter Break.

School will still start on Aug. 22 for the 2019-2020 school year, according to the school system's online calendar.

Previously, school districts had to apply for a waiver to start school before Labor Day weekend in September. During its 2019 session, Virginia’s General Assembly approved a bill providing school divisions with additional flexibility in choosing their opening date and did away with the waiver, LCPS staff said.

Joy Maloney (Broad Run District) said she is happy the bill passed, because now Loudoun will be able to consistently set its calendar without waiting to see if the waiver is approved.

However, the bill also called for students to have a four-day weekend for Labor Day, from Friday through Monday, affecting LCPS’ approved calendar.

LCPS staff proposed the board make Aug. 30 a school holiday per the new law and to make up the missed day by extending the school year by one day to June 10, 2020. Winter break would be unaffected, and 2020 graduate dates will be scheduled around the new calendar, LCPS staff said.

The board heard the update on the calendar as an information item and voted to suspend the rules in order to vote on the matter Tuesday.

Debbie Rose (Algonkian District) asked staff if it had considered using one of the 15 built-in snow days to cover the missed day instead of extending the school year, since all 15 days are rarely used. Superintendent Eric Williams said staff did not consider the option.

“It may not have been the pattern that we use all of the built-in days, [but] wouldn’t it be our luck if this would be the year that that would happen?” Eric Hornberger (Ashburn District) said.

Hornberger also said it’s been “a long-standing practice” for LCPS to have 180-day school years.

The board voted unanimously in favor of the new calendar, with Vice Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District) absent for the vote.

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Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify that school starts on Aug. 22 for the 2019-2020 school year.

(18) comments

BobOhneiserEsq

Loudoun Teacher.. You raise an excellent question regarding livable wages and the difference between what most experience in the commercial world versus teaching. When I ran strategic marketing for MCI International I had 25 professional working for me all of whom including myself had to self justify the job every quarter with revenue growth. People were laid off if we were not successful (which we were) but it took 6-7 days a week of involvement, travel and overtime to do so. Compare that to getting reviewed as a teacher every three years and what is involved to eliminate a teacher for performance. The key take away is to measure remuneration per hour and consider the lack of risk to the job. In most industries marginal utility of labor dictates what someone earns not longevity. If you are not increasing what you are responsible for you will be first passed over and then the job itself will be at risk perhaps just before you qualify for a pension. All teachers get the raise regardless of how much they have applied themselves over the year to learning more or improving their effectiveness. As a school board member I preferred to support intellectual property rights and allow added income for teachers who replace textbooks with their lesson plans but the staff fought the idea of anything that allowed teachers to differentiate themselves. Isn't that the real reason the AOS course are not offered in all high schools. LCPS does not want to show "regular" high school teachers how much more the AOS teachers earn with much lower class sizes? Bottom line - what should all teachers earn if the job is truly equally weighted? Is it really fair for a two year experienced teacher to only earn 1/2 as much as a 30 year teacher for the same job? Why does the LEA and others fight so hard against raising the starting salaries of new teachers with a cap on income at the level the job is worth. Higher pay can be earned when articulable differentiating factors are considered? Teaching is a very valuable and honorable profession which should be compensated based on performance with client (parent) input to justify raises. How do we really motivate the best teachers if all are treated exactly the same except more pay for longevity.

DavisB

Bob, you ask " How do we really motivate the best teachers?" - you can start by stopping disrespecting them - when you post that teachers work half the time others do, you disrespect teachers. When you suggest that they can make up the deficit in earnings by selling their lesson plans, you disrespect teachers. When you confuse AOS offerings with what other teachers do, you disrespect teachers. When you compare teaching to your time at MCI, you disrespect teachers. So, stop disrespecting teachers

BobOhneiserEsq

Davis B. If you go back and read Davids comment he asked a question which I tried to answer. You ignored the impact of our being in a Dillon state on the issue or even the reality that teachers get paid over twelve months but are only tasked to work 1/2 year minus sick days, vacation days etc. You chose again to anonymously be antagonistic instead of dealing with real issues. Many people are paid on a yearly basis rather than a half year basis. To keep apples to apples I chose to use 365 to compare to 180 rather than use a year versus 180 days. I do appreciate your mentioning I was running as an independent for Chair of the BOS which I didn't even mention in my answer to David's question. Please tell us which of my opponents have a flawless record, an extensive history of community volunteering, served for 8 years on the school board or were never elected for anything before or only won one election on a three way vote? Impress us with your analytical skills.

LoudounTeacher

With all due respect, you are making a false comparison of working 180 days to 365. In reality, those having a "regular" job are actually more likely to work about 250 days per year.
Most people don't work 7 days a week; most work 5 (There go 104 days of your 365 day work year). Then let's consider national holidays that are common for businesses close. There are 10 federal holidays in the US (10 more days gone).
Also, the standard classroom teacher contract is not 180 days but 194 contracted days. So the real comparison numbers should be the teacher that works 194 days vs. the 250 days of a normal job (assuming neither group takes a sick or personal day off).
Please sir, don't make it sound like teachers are lazy by saying we are "only tasked to work 1/2 year".

More Cowbell

What do you consider a regular job? I know many careers that work 12+hour days, 6-7 days a weeks for months at a time when meeting deadlines. And don't get compensated for working the extra hours. I've worked 6 weeks straight without a day off, working a back to back 24 hours. And while in the military, we didn't get any days off(on call 24 X 7) and pay was way below avg. So don't lump regular jobs as just a 40 hour work week and/or getting all these days off that you assume others get/take.

More Cowbell

And count on a few weeks in Jan/Feb for schools to be closed for cold weather.

BobOhneiserEsq

David, I will try to answer your question as it sheds a lot of light on just how little control one county has over its affairs. (DILLON State) Due to the lobbying power of counties that depend on summer vacation dollars flowing to them over the labor day holiday and the legacy interest of end of summer harvest both of which involve children the state pushes for schools to start after Labor Day. Loudoun has tried to get as much SOL prep time in prior to the SOL testing in May so it tries to start early. Given that teachers are paid all year even though the school system is really only open 1/2 year (180 compared to 365) did you ever wonder why wages (including medical benefits, vacations, sick days, personal days and county paid pension contributions) per hour are never mentioned along with the living wage argument used for increasing the yearly budget. Hope that helps explain this scheduling issue.

DavisB

Bob - who works 365 days a year? How do you expect anyone to vote for you when you cannot get any facts correct?

Iluvloudoun

Why is Joy Maloney still on the School Board? She was arrested on school property by Police, hand cuffed and carried to the Police car for resisting arrest. Really, Loudoun County?? We deserve better people to represent us on the school board. I for one, do not think that she set a good example for our students or our adult citizens. Voters, did you take note?

John M

I agree completely. She is an embarrassment to the school system and should have been booted two years ago.

Iluvloudoun

Everyone that I know hates going back to school before Labor Day but it falls on deaf ears. The other issue with the school calendar is Spring Break. The week before Easter is the one of the most expensive times to travel because so many other schools have that as their Spring Break too. Every time we try to find an inexpensive travel option, we end up staying home because it is too costly for our family of five to fly anywhere that week. I wish that we would change Spring Break to another week that it would be cost effective to actually have a 'break'.

John M

Also, do we really need a two week "winter break"? That is just ridiculous. Why so long of a break? I'd rather see that break cut down by a few days with school ending earlier.

DavisB

a bit late for moaning about the calendar - where were you when they voted on it months ago

Virginia SGP

John, that is what most parents and students want. But teachers get about 13 weeks of vacation per year (2 in winter, 1 for spring break, and 10 over the summer). When you have that much vacation, they push for longer winter breaks even if it creates hardships for working parents. The teachers, admins and school board simply don't care about what's best for students and parents.

Qwertyuiop

SGP, what do you do for a living?

David Dickinson

Does anyone know the general motivation for starting school before Labor Day? The Tuesday after labor day seems like such a natural segue into the school year.

Virginia SGP

LCPS admins want to sprinkle prof dev (PD) days throughout the year. It creates a hardship for working parents who have to scramble to find all-day care on various Monday's and Friday's. But the school board prioritizes administrators over students/parents/teachers. This is why we need a clean sweep in the Nov 2019 elections.

Duncan Idaho

Maybe people want to finish the school year in early June?

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