Time has run out again on a bill that would have given students an extra hour or so of sleep before the next school day.
Originally introduced to the state legislature Feb. 3, 2017, SB-328 stalled on the Assembly floor in a 26-30 vote six months later.
But the measure’s sponsor, Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, reintroduced it to Assembly members last month, amending the provision of requiring public and charter middle and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 to Period 1 classes. That meant zero period start times would not be affected.
The change ended with the bill’s passage in both houses of the legislature on Aug. 31 — the end of this year’s legislative session.
With more than a week left before the bill would turn into law, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed SB-328, ending any hopes Portantino and other students had of a later start to the school day as early as the 2020-2021 school year.
“This is a one-size-fits-all approach that is opposed by teachers and school boards,” Brown said in a Sep. 20 news release from his office. “These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community.”
Legislators have no plans to override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote.
In a Sept. 20 statement responding to the governor’s decision, Portantino expressed disappointment over the governor’s veto, hinting that he plans to continue to work toward making a later school start time a reality next year under a newly elected governor since Brown’s term ends this year.
“Unfortunately, the status quo prevailed today,” he said. “I remain committed to the wellbeing of the California’s children and certainly will bring this important public health issue back next year as our children and their health and welfare demand we put them first in our decision-making process.”
Overall, most underclassmen preferred an 8:30 a.m. start time because they believed it would help them get more sleep.
“Teachers give homework every day in every class, and students don’t get enough sleep because [they] also [have to] study for tests and quizzes,” freshman Kristel Laceste said. “It [was] just right for us students.”
Sophomore Christian Alemana had similar feelings toward the bill.
“I think it’d be great for me personally since my sleeping schedule is pretty bad,” Alemana said. “I would have maybe an extra hour to sleep, which is great.”