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SDUHSD votes against state ‘late start’ bill

The San Dieguito Union High School District school board voted against endorsing a statewide bill that would change start times at public schools across the state.

The board voted 3-2 against endorsing Senate Bill 328, which would require middle schools and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

Board President Amy Herman and trustees Joyce Dalessandro and Beth Hergesheimer voted against the endorsement, which they said encroached upon district choice, while board members Maureen Muir and John Salazar voted in favor of the endorsement.

School District Superintendent Eric Dill said the board majority took its cue from its student advisory members, who panned the bill as an overreach by the state into matters that should be determined district by district.

“They were really on top of it,” Dill said of the student advisory members Scott Geier, Isaac Gelman, Cole Gonzales, Jack Hargis and Sarah Trigg.

Dill said that the board members weren’t opposed to starting school later, and would be prepared to alter the schedules if the bill passed. They objected to it being a statewide mandate.

The senate bill was authored by State. Sen. Anthony Portantino, (D-La Canada Flintridge), and has the support of a number of organizations, including Start School Later, a nonprofit coalition of health professionals and educators with 94 chapters in 26 states.

The group cites studies that point to later start times giving students more sleep, which improves scholastic performance and achievement.