California State Senator Introduces Bill to Start School Day Later

A California state senator on Monday introduced legislation that would likely result in many schools beginning classes at a later start time.

File photo of a high school classroom. (Credit: KTLA)

File photo of a high school classroom. (Credit: KTLA)

Under Senate Bill 328, school districts would be required to implement a start time of no earlier than 8:30 a.m. at middle and high schools, according to a news release from State Sen. Anthony Portantino, who proposed the legislation.

“Data is clear; starting the school day later improves the quality of education, health and welfare of our children. So let’s do it,” said Portantino, who represents the state’s 25th district, which includes Pasadena, Glendale, Glendora, La Cañada Flintridge, Claremont and Upland. 

Portantino cited an American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement from 2014, which advised school districts to have a start time of at least 8:30 a.m. for secondary schools, according to the release.

“Studies have confirmed that insufficient sleep in teenage adolescents poses a public health risk and has an adverse effect on academic success,” the release stated.

School districts who have adopted such a policy have found increases in attendance rates, grade point average, college admission test scores, and student and family interaction, among other benefits, the APA reported.

The studies also found a decline in disciplinary action and students sleeping during lectures, as well as a decrease in student-involved car crashes, according to the release.

More than 3 million students attend middle and high schools in California. On average, classes start for these students at 8:07 a.m., according to the Center for Disease and Control.

Noting that funding is tied to attendance, Portantino said California school districts would also benefit with the later start time.

“The Los Angeles Unified School District estimated by improving the current attendance rate by just 1 percent, the district would gain an additional $40 million per year which could be re-invested in California student’s educational growth,” the release stated.