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Budget Amendment Would Allow Virginia Schools To Go Year-Round

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A number of Virginia school systems are supporting a "year-round" school year despite some resistance to the concept by some groups. And while proponents admit that it may not work for all school systems, they believe it's essential to boosting academic achievement, especially in districts with socio-economic challenges.

Year-round schools don't always lengthen the academic year but, instead, may reorganize it to give less time out of class during summer breaks. A proposed budget amendment would fund the needed teachers, support staff and transportation. Lynchburg School Superintendent Scott Brabrand says one school in his city is proof that the concept works.

"It is over 90 percent economically disadvantaged, yet it is one of our most successful elementary schools," he says.

Senator Donald McEachin, who backs the plan, stresses that it's optional.

"This is a local option, and it doesn't even mandate that the school system has to do it. The localities can pick schools that they want to," he says.

Until more systems opt in and they can gauge those costs, they propose $3 million annually to fund year-round schooling grants.

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