School start time bill SB 328 has been signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, making California the first state in the country to mandate that high schools and middle schools start later in the morning.
The bill, authored by State Senator Anthony J. Portantino’s (D – La Cañada Flintridge), is based on over three decades of research on teen health, sleep patterns, and brain chemistry. The law seeks to align school start times with the biology of teens. Overwhelming research shows that when the school day starts later, our children are significantly healthier and perform better in school. The California PTA sponsored and supported SB 328. While pediatricians and researchers from across the country united behind the bill, it faced opposition. Last year, Governor Brown vetoed the bill.

“Today, Governor Newsom displayed a heartwarming and discerning understanding of the importance of objective research and exercised strong leadership as he put our children’s health and welfare ahead of institutional bureaucracy resistant to change. Generations of children will come to appreciate this historic day and our governor for taking bold action. Our children face a public health crises. Shifting to a later start time will improve academic performance and save lives because it helps our children be healthier. The PTA, researchers, doctors, educational advocates, and every parent and child who worked tirelessly and passionately on this three-year effort should take pride in what we have accomplished with the passage of SB 328. When I heard the good news I literally got choked up because of the overwhelming positive impact this will have on our children and for the deep appreciation for everyone who took this journey together. I am beyond excited that now our work begins to implement this necessary educational and public health reform,” says Portantino in a release.

SB 328 was sponsored by the California PTA, EdVoice, and Start School Later. It has near unanimous support from the healthcare community and is based on the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Assemblymember Todd Gloria was a stalwart supporter of SB328, helping to shepherd it through the state assembly.

“I was very pleased to join this effort to prioritize our children’s health. I could not look at the overwhelming research behind SB328 and not be compelled to act. Students in San Diego and across California will enjoy more sleep and do better in school. It is rare you get to enact policy that will have such an immediate benefit which makes this even more important. As soon as schools start later our children and families will be healthier and happier,” says Gloria.

SB 328 has a built-in 3-year delay to give school districts ample time to shift their start time. Data shows that costs typically do not go up in relation to the time shift, but attendance does. This will bring additional ADA dollars to California schools so the bill is a win for both the students and our schools.

“Senator Portantino has worked closely with the California PTA to put student health first in the conversation. We are grateful for his dedication to the late school start initiative and for the opportunity to partner with him on this effort. When teens get enough sleep, they are safer, healthier, and do better in school. The California State PTA is proud to co-sponsor this bill and looks forward to helping implement this historic initiative across our state,” says Carol Kocivar, California State PTA.