California Legislators Prohibit Schools From Starting Before 8:30am. The Reason Will Have Parents Groan.

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Posted: Sep 02, 2018 6:00 AM
California Legislators Prohibit Schools From Starting Before 8:30am. The Reason Will Have Parents Groan.

Lawmakers in the Golden State on Friday voted to prohibit middle and high schools from starting before 8:30a.m., one of the final bills the legislature was able to pass during its last day in session, Fox News reported. 

The bill, SB328, was extremely controversial. Proponents of the bill say teenagers are facing sleep deprivation when their natural sleep cycle keeps them up late but school forces them to get up early, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 80 percent of California's middle and high schools start before 8:30a.m., something proponents believe needs to change. 

"Research shows teens do better in school, have lower rates of depression and anxiety and fewer car accidents when school start times start later," the Chronicle reported.

The bill goes into effect in 2021, should Gov. Jerry Brown (D) sign it. The exceptions to the start time would be made for rural schools or extra periods that begin before the normal school period. 

"This is the single most cost-effective thing we can do to improve high school graduation rates," Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) told Fox News.

Those who oppose the bill say start times should be left to the school board and those on the local level, not the state. 

“We should not micromanage schools from Sacramento,” Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (R-Long Beach) told the Chronicle. “Why have a school district if we are going to pass this bill? SB328 will burden working families.”

The bill passed the Senate 23-13 and barely slid by in the Assembly with the bare minimum of 41 votes, with 30 opposed. 

According to a legislative analysis, moving schools start times could significantly impact school board's budgets. Some schools stagger their start times so the same buses can be used for multiple school campuses.