Fredericksburg City Beat

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Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Snow could lead to longer school days in Fredericksburg

Like most other school divisions, Fredericksburg is trying to figure out how to make up for all the instructional time lost to the multiple blizzards (yes, I consider all of them blizzards) we have had this year.

As of today, city schools have missed 10 days because of winter weather.

At tonight’s School Board meeting, board members will consider Superintendent David Melton’s recommendation to add 20 minutes to the length of every school day, starting a week from today (March 8). In addition, Melton proposes changing March 19 and May 14 to full school days. They had been early-dismissal days. He also recommends changing April 2, which had been a teacher work day, to a regular school day.

If the board approves this plan the last day of the school year would still be June 18.

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  • PinchingAbe

    Colonial Beach is adding a lot more time than that. 45 min per school day til the end of the year. They didn’t want to add to end of year because they wanted the extra time in before SOL testing. They opted not to cancel Spring Break and went with longer days. Today was the first day of the longer schedule.

  • George

    I fail to see why the City Schools need to make up any of the days. The state law requires either 180 days or 990 hours, and the city schools already have an additional 30-45 minutes in each school day above the 5 1/2 hours required. So, we could miss even more days without falling below the 990 hour mark. Modifying the schedule for the children will just result in exhaustion and disruption.

    Also, remember, April 2 is Good Friday and the start of spring vacation for students.

    I guess I’m just concerned that the school administration is not doing it’s homework adequately, and this is the type of technical rules issue that boards usually have to trust their staff to interpret. Jerry Hill did a great job interpreting this for the Spotsy Schools, and when I apply his formulas to the city schools, I don’t see the problem…

    That said, please go ahead and extend the early release days – those days usually are so disrupted by the sortened schedules, that making them full days is probably a relief for parents and teachers alike.

  • Will

    Yes, relying on your staff is essential as a board member. The staff at central office are the ones that have to make recommendations to the board, and sadly, the boards usually do not have the time it takes to really research the issues. If you saw Stafford County’s debate over this issue last week at their board meeting, you say a horribly confusing presentation by the staff member in charge- the head of personnel. It was clear during his presentation that he had no idea what he was talking about.

  • George

    I heard that Dr. Melton admitted that there was no legal requirement to make up time, but just thought they should anyway.

    Only one speaker tonight on the issue. I submitted a letter, but they didn’t read it into the record the way they’ve done at Council meetings. I don’t think the citizenry had enough time to react to the proposal to organize any more protest than that.