Parents of Alexandria City Schools students: Do you want your children to have a longer school day? To grow up better and brighter than those other kids, and get fancy jobs with big paychecks so you can retire at 55 and move to Florida? Or does the thought of missing out on 30 minutes each day with Junior make the tears start rolling, because the kids, they grow up so fast?

Whatever your opinion, make it heard: The school board has scheduled a public hearing for Thursday night on the superintendent's proposal to add 30 minutes to each school day and start the year before Labor Day. Under Superintendent Morton Sherman's proposal, the 2011-2012 school year would begin Aug. 29 and run through June 15, upping this year's 183 school days to 185. Each school day would be extended by 30 minutes.

According to the school board's release, there are plenty of good reasons to go with the plan, as it "would allow students more learning time and preparation for Standards of Learning (SOL) testing. Beginning on Aug. 29 would stretch the school year to permit days for professional development. This would minimize the amount of time teachers are out of the classroom for professional development and would provide more flexibility for scheduling snow make-up days."

The school board is scheduled to vote on Jan. 20. If they decide to go for it, they'll submit an application waiver to the Virginia Department of Education for permission to adjust the calendar.

If you'd like to speak at the hearing, register with Clerk of the Board Rosemary Webb at 703-842-6614 or The meeting is scheduled to for the School Board Meeting Room at 2000 N. Beauregard St. in Alexandria.