SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Lawmakers are again pushing legislation to require middle and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 am.
Senator Anthony Portantino (D- San Fernando) introduced SB 328 on Friday. Last session he authored a similar bill that was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.
This version of the bill would require schools, including charter schools, to start no earlier than 8:30 am by July 1, 2022. Zero periods would not count as part of the school day. Rural school district could request a waiver to delay implementation.
According to the bill introduced last session, a study done by the American Academy of Pediatrics said teens not getting enough sleep was “an important public health issue that significantly affects the health and safety” of students.
A separate study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the average start time for middle and high schools is 8:07 am and concluded an 8:30 am or later start time would help students get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Currently, 70% of high-schoolers do not get enough sleep.
The California School Boards Association and the California Teachers Association were two agencies opposed to the legislation, arguing districts should determine what is best for their schools and communities.
In Governor Brown’s veto message he said:
“This is a one-size-fits-all approach that is opposed by teachers and school boards. Several schools have already moved to later start times. Others prefer beginning the school day earlier. These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community.”
Opponents also pointed out a later start time would create unintended costs and consequences for working parents responsible for getting their children to school and still arriving to work on-time. School districts would also need to adjust bus schedules, or add additional buses, in order to accommodate the later start time for middle and high schools, many of which start earlier than elementary schools.
Sen. Portantino said, ““As I stated at the end of the last legislative year, I will continue to fight for to change school start time because it is a science based and results driven policy that will save lives and improve academic performance. The facts and results are unequivocal and clear; our teens are healthier and perform better when school starts later. I strongly believe test scores will go up and suicidal thoughts will go down. It’s time to embrace this public health issue and put our children’s wellbeing first.”