VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) — A new license plate, post-Labor Day school start times and new voting rules are all a part of Virginia Beach’s drafted 2019 wish list for the General Assembly.
While state lawmakers aren’t expected to return to Richmond until January for the 2019 legislative session, the Virginia Beach City Council is preparing to vote on its legislative priorities.
At the top of the list is a request to keep the Virginia Board of Education’s current policy regarding school start times prior to Labor Day.
Currently, public schools within the Commonwealth are required to start the new year after Labor Day unless a waiver is granted by the state board. However, a bill passed in the House earlier this year would place the power instead in the hand of local school districts. The proposal currently sits in a Senate committee awaiting action.
Starting the school year prior to Labor Day has academic benefits, according to supporters of the proposal.
But the City of Virginia Beach points to its $2.45 billion tourism industry as a reason to keep the current guidelines.
“Beginning schools prior to Labor Day would effectively reduce the available vacation time in August by two weeks, which is prime family vacation time that cannot be replaced,” the request said. “It will have a negative effect on the economic impact of the tourism industry, cutting short the critical summer season which will hurt small businesses, hardworking families and their employees.”
Also included in the packet is a request to establish a license plate to support conservation work at the Virginia Aquarium, increased storm water assistance funding and establishing rules for the taxing of internet sales.
Several charter amendments have also been proposed. One requests a change that would no longer allow voters to vote for all city council seats.
The City Council will vote on the full packet at their October 16 meeting.