Capitol Alert

No delay to school start times after Jerry Brown vetoes California bill

Students can sleep in thanks to later start times at Davis middle schools

Davis eighth-grader Susannah Costello, 14, explains why she prefers the later start time at Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School.
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Davis eighth-grader Susannah Costello, 14, explains why she prefers the later start time at Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School.

Amid opposition from teachers and school boards, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday rejected legislation that would have delayed the start time for most California high schools and middle schools until at least 8:30 a.m.

“These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community,” Brown wrote in a veto message for Senate Bill 328, dismissing the “one-size-fits-all approach.”

Sen. Anthony Portatino, the La Cañada Flintridge Democrat who introduced the measure, 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.

But the California Teachers Association and the California School Boards Association lobbied against the bill, which narrowly passed the Legislature last month, arguing that lawmakers should not dictate start times for diverse communities all over the state. SB 328 included an exemption only for rural communities.

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