“These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community,” Governor Jerry Brown wrote in a veto message for Senate Bill 328, the ‘Late Start’ Bill that would have required California schools to start classes no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
After several weeks of speculation from the public and lobbying from the public education stakeholders, Brown vetoed the bill on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.
The Culver City School Board discussed the item at their most recent meeting on Sept. 11, 2018, and several community members spoke in favor of changing the school schedule away from early start times. There were suggestions towards year-round schooling, and online options as well, but most of those who attended the meeting agreed that lack of sleep was a health issue for teens.
The hope of a statewide later school time was enthusiastically supported by Dr. Steven Levin and Dr. Kelly Kent, with evidence on the health problems associated with the lack of sleep for adolescents. Only Board Member Summer McBride questioned the wisdom of the start time shift, noting that the challenges for working parents to take care of everyone’s morning commute could be overwhelming if the start time were to change.
Sen. Anthony Portatino, (D- La Cañada Flintridge) who introduced the bill, and other supporters pointed to research concluding that later school start times improve student health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended in 2014 that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. to offset sleep deprivation.
Whether CCUSD decides to shift the schedule without the state mandate will be a matter for discussion in the upcoming meetings.
The California Teachers Association and the California School Boards Association lobbied against the bill arguing that lawmakers should not decide for communities all over the state.
SB 328 included an exemption only for rural communities.