UPDATE: Late Start School Bill Signed into Law | Senator Portantino’s Push Successful

State Senate Bill 328, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino), whose district represents South Pasadena, has been signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom, opening the door for students to get a later start to their school day

FILE PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Senator Anthony Portantino


SPUSD Superintendent, Geoff Yantz, speaks about the recently approved late start law:

“South Pasadena Unified will begin logistical preparations for moving to a later start time,” said Superintendent Geoff Yantz. “There are many factors to consider as we develop the best strategies to implement successfully the later school start time. We will work collabortively with our bargaining units, The Teachers Association of South Pasadena (TASP) and The California School Employees Association (CSEA) on this implementation.”

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The bill becomes effective on July 1, 2022, making the 2022-23 school year the first that districts must comply with the later start times. Districts may offer a “zero period” as long as it does not generate average daily attendance for purposes of computing any apportionments of state funding.

“We will do our best to meet the needs of our community, faculty and staff within the parameters set by the State,” said Yantz.


State Senator Anthony J. Portantino, whose 25th District represents South Pasadena, said it was a “win for our kids” as school start time SB 328 has been signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

California will become the first state in the country to mandate that high schools and middle schools start later in the morning. The bill is the culmination of three years of ardent work by the senator, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), sleep researches and parent & student advocates.

SB 328 addresses the significant public health crisis of sleep-deprived teens by requiring high schools in California to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and middle schools to begin no earlier than 8 a.m.

The bill has a built-in three-year delay to give school districts ample time to shift their start time. Data shows, according to Portantino, 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.

Authored by Portantino, the legislation is based on more than three decades of research on teen health, sleep patterns and brain chemistry, seeking 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,” said Portantino.

The California PTA sponsored and supported SB 328. While pediatricians and researchers from across the country united behind the bill, it faced stiff opposition. That opposition led to a veto from Gov. Brown last year.

“This year, Gov. Newsom appropriately saw things differently and put our children’s health and welfare at the forefront of education policy, Portantino saying the governor “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.”

Continued the state senator: “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.”

Portantino said he “got choked up” upon hearing the governor signed the bill “because of the overwhelming positive impact this will have on our children and for the deep appreciation for everyone who took this journey together,” he said.  “I am beyond excited that now our work begins to implement this necessary educational and public health reform.”

Beginning over three decades ago in Minneapolis, Portantino says researchers began studying the brain chemistry of teens. “They found that teens require almost 10 hours of sleep per night to be healthy but receive far less in today’s complicated society. By moving school start time later teens achieve more sleep and consequently are healthier and happier,” he said.

Along with it being sponsored by the California PTA, EdVoice, and Start School Later, Portantino said SB328 has near unanimous support from the healthcare community and is based on the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Assembly member Todd Gloria was a stalwart supporter of SB328 helping to shepherd it through the State Assembly.

Last year, Senator Portantino sent a similar bill to Governor Brown, but it was vetoed.  The coalition behind SB 328 is significant with representatives of law enforcement joining the PTA and the broad medical research community in support for the bill.

“Senator Portantino has worked closely with the California PTA to put student health first in the conversation,” added Carol Kocivar, California State PTA.  “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.”