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The Right Note: School’s (Almost) Out

Mark KellyThe Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Virginia, like a few other states, still begins its school year after Labor Day. There is nothing wrong with maintaining this practice. And if you are going on a beach vacation, those last two weeks before Labor Day often bring reduced prices as competition for space subsides.

But the final day of elementary school in Arlington is tomorrow, June 23. There is no reason it could not be the second Friday in June in all but the snowiest of years.

The Superintendent builds in a number of days throughout the year for teacher work days, as well as adding other “cushion” days to the calendar, to account for school closures while still meeting the minimum number of days necessary for instruction required by the Commonwealth of Virginia. As most parents know, after the SOLs are completed the amount of instruction that occurs in the classroom falls off dramatically. The final days of school are often filled with field days and movies.

APS could adjust the calendar for next year now and tell parents in September that not later than March 1, the system would determine if it needed to add days due to weather events into the next week of June. That would give parents enough time to adjust summer plans as necessary and would happen only rarely.

School Board candidates can add this “give a week back plan” to “no homework” as an agenda item to gain my endorsement in November.

Bloomberg to Receive a Boost

Between Virginia and Arlington, Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) could receive $2.5 million in benefits over the next 3 years for bringing 125 jobs to Arlington. $500,000 would be provided by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. $800,000 would come from the Arlington County Economic Development Incentive. And $1.2 million would be allocated for the continuation of an expiring property tax exemption.

Unlike BNA and Nestlé, most employers are likely to receive $0 for creating jobs in the County over the next three years.

Meanwhile, the Arlington County Board passed another in the series of meaningless resolutions meant to weigh in on a national issue this week. The Board supported the Paris Agreement by recommitting itself to steps they were going to take anyway to make County Government more energy efficient.

That time could have been better spent on a discussion of how to make Arlington a better place to do business for those employers that aren’t receiving huge taxpayer-funded handouts.

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