Later School Start

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO 

SB 328 by Sen. Anthony Portantino, a Democrat from La Cañada Flintridge, would require that high schools in California start their school day no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and no earlier than 8 a.m. for the state’s middle schools. 

WHO SUPPORTS IT? 

The national advocacy group, Start School Later, the state PTA and physicians’ groups support the effort for later start times and have said it is a response to a public health crisis. The requirement, they say, would lead to less sleep-deprived students and improved student achievement.

WHO’S OPPOSED?

The California School Boards Association, the statewide advocacy group for school boards, and various local districts oppose it. They characterize the proposal as a one-size-fits-all approach that ought to be decided by local school boards. 

WHY IT MATTERS 

The bill is a repeat from last year. That version of SB 328 passed the Legislature by one vote in the waning days of the session before Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it.

GOVERNOR’S CALL  

Though a prior version of SB 328 narrowly cleared the Legislature last year, the school boards association blasted ads lobbying Brown to veto the bill, appealing to his penchant for local control. Brown complied. Newsom? Not so much. In one of his last acts of the legislative year, he signed, making California the first state in the nation to push back school start times. The new law won’t apply to “zero periods” or rural school districts, and schools have until the beginning of the 2022-23 school year or the end of current collective bargaining agreement, whichever is later, to phase it in.