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Snow makeup days set for county schools

Snowy, icy cold weather has kept students and teachers out of classrooms this week, but county public schools will make up some of these days later in the year.

Schools were closed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, following the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday on Monday. Days will be added to the academic calendar to recoup the lost time.

Virginia requires public schools to hold at least 180 days of school each year. While Fairfax County builds three days of cushioning into its calendar in case of emergency closing, Tuesday marked the fourth canceled day this school year.

Tuesday’s snow day will be made up on Feb. 17, the Presidents’ Day holiday. Wednesday’s canceled day of classes will be made up on April 7, previously scheduled as a teacher workday.

While no makeup day will be required for the sixth canceled day of classes on Thursday, the next snow day will start cutting into the summer vacation, with a makeup day set for June 23. The current last day of school is scheduled for June 20.

School Board to hold public hearing on budget

The Fairfax County School Board is planning to hold a public hearing on Superintendent Karen Garza’s proposed budget on Monday.

The hearing will be held at Luther Jackson Middle School in Falls Church starting at 6 p.m. If needed, the public hearing will continue at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Garza and the School Board will listen to public reaction on the budget ahead of their next work session on the budget next Thursday. The board plans to vote on a finalized version of the document at their next regular meeting on Feb. 7. This budget will then be presented to the county Board of Supervisors in April.

NVCC sees rise in enrollment, bucking national trend

Enrollment at Northern Virginia Community College grew by 6 percent from 2010 to 2013, according to new data from the State Council of Higher Education, bucking a state and national trend of decreasing enrollment at community colleges.

NVCC, one of the largest community colleges in the country, accounts for more than 25 percent of students at these institutions throughout the state, with 51,803 students.

However, while NVCC has seen its student body grow, enrollment numbers fell at most of Virginia’s public two-year colleges in the past three years. Statewide, 190,528 students were enrolled at Virginia’s 24 public two-year colleges in fall 2013, a drop of 3 percent from fall 2010.

Demand for community colleges often move in this opposite direction of the larger economy. As the country moves out of recession and job prospects increase, demand for community college tends to decrease, but NVCC has defied expectations.