Letter to the Editor: Shenandoah County should consider year-round school


The situation in Shenandoah County regarding what to do about the schools reminded me of what I found 41 years ago in Prince William County.

I moved into a house in Dale City in 1974. Reading the paper, I found that the school system was on a 45/15 schedule. That meant 45 days in school followed by 15 days not in school.  I liked that because it meant schools would be in use year-round. It meant that my tax dollars would not go to keep air conditioning and lights going in an empty school during summer.  (Full disclosure: I have never had any children.)

But, as the Dale City and Lake Ridge developments grew, the people coming in did not like the 45/15 schema.  It messed up their vacation plans, and other whines were heard.  I found myself thinking, “who’s kidding who?”  A large number of residents in that county at that time were either civilian or military folks in government jobs.

Plan your vacation?  With 45/15 you knew when your child would be out of school and could plan a vacation accordingly.

Hence, in January you could make plans for a two-week vacation in August or whatever.  The other whine was that little Johnny or Jenny could not get a part-time job. Hey! The kid is in school to learn so that they can either go to college or get a good job on graduation.  Sports participation was another excuse. I thought, if your kid is playing some sport your plans are already going around that.

Anyway, by about 1976-77 the whiners got their way and Prince William schools went back to the old September to June schedule.

One thing many people do not realize is that the September to June school year came about a long time ago when this nation was an agricultural nation and the youth were needed during summer on the farm. Shenandoah and other counties are still primarily agricultural areas, but with the modern machinery I see on farms, I don’t think having a 45/15 schedule would affect them –could even help since the days available would be spread out.

Bob Brookfield, Wardensville, West Virginia