Legal Update Memo No. 37-2019 – SB 328 – Middle and High School Start Times (K-12)

Download pdf: 37-2019 – SB 328 – Middle and High School Start Times w attachment (KAS)

On October 13, 2019, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill (“SB”) 328 into law. SB 328 prohibits middle schools from starting before 8:00 a.m., and high schools from starting prior to 8:30 a.m.

SB 328 must be implemented by districts no later than July 1, 2022, or when the school’s collective bargaining agreement expires, whichever is later. The law also allows schools to offer programs prior to the start of the school day, so long as that program does not generate average daily attendance for the purposes of computing any apportionments of state funding.

The law applies to middle and high schools operated by public and charter schools. However, it explicitly states that it shall not apply to “rural school districts.” A rural school district is not defined within the statute. While our office has provided guidance on what may be considered a rural school district, to confirm whether, a district should contact CDE prior to July 1, 2022.

Although the Committee analysis indicates that the Legislature considered the “federal definition” of rural school district, there is no general federal definition of rural school district. Our office believes that if a district is eligible under the Rural Education Achievement Program (“REAP”), administered by the Department of Education under Title VI, it is likely to meet the intentions of the Legislature as a “rural school district.” To be eligible under REAP, the district must meet either of the following definitions:

Definition 1:

Column A Column B
The total number of students in average daily attendance at all of the schools served by the district is fewer than 600; or All of the schools served by the district are designated with a school locale code of 41, 42, or 43, as determined by the Secretary of Education; or
Each county in which a school served by the district is located has a total population density of fewer than 10 people per square mile. The district is located in an area determined to be “rural” by a governmental agency of the State.

(Must match one characteristic from Column A and one from Column B.)

Definition 2:

Twenty percent or more of the children ages 5 through 17 years served by the district are from families with incomes below poverty; and
All of the schools served by the district are designated with a school locale code of 32, 33, 41, 42, or 43.

(Must match both characteristics.)

For your convenience, a copy of SB 328 is included with this Legal Update.

Please contact our office with questions regarding this Legal Update or any other matter.

Legal Update written by Kaitlyn Schwendeman, Schools Legal Counsel

The information in this Legal Update is provided as a summary of law and is not intended as legal advice.  Application of the law may vary depending on the particular facts and circumstances at issue.  We, therefore, recommend that you consult legal counsel to advise you on how the law applies to your specific situation.


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