The California Legislature defied teachers and school boards late Friday to pass a mandate that all middle and high schools delay the start of classes until 8:30 a.m.
Supporters cite public research that says later school start times improve pupil health and link insufficient sleep to physical and mental health problems in adolescents. The California Teachers Association and the California School Boards Association pressured lawmakers to reject the bill, arguing that the Legislature should not dictate start times for diverse communities all over the state.
“It’s a public health issue....I think we have the moral imperative to act,” Portantino said.
After dying on the Assembly floor last year, the bill passed the lower house 41-30 on Friday. It cleared the Senate with a 23 to 13 vote to go to Gov. Jerry Brown.
If enacted, school districts would have until 2021 to determine bus routes, class schedules and make other necessary preparations before the bill takes effect. The bill does not apply to zero period classes, which can continue to begin before 8:30 a.m.
Portantino is hopeful Brown will approve the plan.
“Well, as with anything, knowing the governor I think he will have a personal perspective on it, and I think he also respects science,” Portantino said. “So, I’m optimistic.”