ALEXANDRIA, Va. — When does the school year start? The answer to that question has been like a bouncing ball in the D.C. area.
It depends on the state, the county and how many snow days you had. But efforts are underway in Virginia and Maryland to allow schools to open before Labor Day.
On Wednesday, Virginia lawmakers passed measure to allow the school calendar to start before Labor Day. The school calendar bill is waiting for Governor Ralph Northam's signature.
Lots of educators say starting before the first Tuesday in September it gives students more time to prepare for national tests.
"The first SAT test during the year are in October. So if we don't start school school until the second week in September that's a truncated period of time," said Fairfax County School Board member Karen Corbett Sanders.
Virginia has what's known as the Kings Dominion Law, which refers to the amusement park but, more broadly, all summer tourism businesses that need teens to work and families to spend money.
Because of several snow days, some school systems, like Fairfax County, have received waivers to start early over the past two years.
Corbett Sanders said those two weeks made a big difference at West Potomac High School.
"West Potomac had the highest increase in SAT scores of any school in the county or in the state this past year. I don't believe it's coincidental."
Lawmakers in Richmond are hammering out a plan to allow schools to start two weeks before Labor Day. It's a compromise from those business interests. But school that opt to do so would also have to include a four-day weekend around Labor Day.
"This is really about student success, and who is better situated to decide what's good for our school board than the local school boards?," Corbett Sanders said.
When to start the school year is also under debate in the Maryland legislature. The state senate voted to allow local school boards to decide. The Democratic-controlled legislature has been sparing with Republican Governor Larry Hogan over this very issue.
Hogan moved the start of schools to after Labor Day. On the current bill, he'll likely veto it and said he wants to introduce his own legislation to let people decide with a referendum on the ballot.