California lawmakers approve bill to push back school start times

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) -- California students could soon start school later. State lawmakers approved a bill requiring middle and high schools to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

The proposal was shot down last year by school boards and teachers.

Supporters said later start times improve health and help offset sleep deprivation in teens.

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The measure passed narrowly in both chambers following a debate that did not adhere to party lines.

"This is the single most cost-effective thing we can do to improve high school graduation rates," Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, R-Hesperia, said.

If Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill, schools will have about three years to comply.

Currently, more than 80 percent of schools start before 8:30 a.m. Rural schools would be exempt from the mandate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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