Senator Portantino Reintroduces SB 328 Landmark Bill on School Start Time

Tuesday, February 19 2019

Sacramento, California–Senator Anthony J. Portantino, D–La Cañada Flintridge has reintroduced SB 328 the science based, landmark School Start Time Bill.

“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,” said Senator Portantino

Last year, Senator Portantino authored SB 328 based on academic research, which began in Minneapolis three decades ago. Since last year’s version of the bill was vetoed by Governor Brown, more research and studies have become known touting the need to shift the school start time.  The Washington Post recently published an article titled Why it’s ridiculous that high schools start so early in the morning written by Valerie Strauss. The article details research from the National Sleep Foundation on the benefits of starting school later especially for pre-teens and teens.  The University of Washington also conducted a review of Seattle’s move to late start and showed a 4.5% increase in higher grades.

SB 328 has been about scientific research from its inception, the bill is a result of recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control. Both organizations advise school districts to change the school day start time to no earlier than 8:30 am, specifically for middle schools and high schools.  Studies have confirmed that insufficient sleep in teenage adolescents poses a public health risk.  Later start time has resulted in more on-time attenance, higher grades and increased graduation rates.

“Every year we discuss as parents, educators, and legislators the best practices for our children and their education. The data on this measure is clear and that is starting the school day at a later time improves the quality of education, health and welfare of our children. So let’s do it,” concluded Senator Portantino.

SB 328 is Co-authored by Assembly Majority Ian Calderon, Senators Dr. Richard Pan & Scott Wiener, Assemblymmbers Todd Gloria & Tasha Boerner Horvath.

California has over 3 million public middle and high school students. The average school day start time for these students is 8:07 am according to the Center for Disease and Control. California school districts would benefit with later school day start times as funding is tied to attendance. SB 328 will update the California Education Code to ensure that middle and high school start times meet the parameters recommended by the AAP. The bill will allow zero periods, exempts rural districts, and sets an implementation date of 2021.