In 2019, California became the first state in the nation to mandate later start times for schools. SB 328 will go into effect gradually, but all districts are required to no earlier than 8 a.m. for middle schools and 8:30 a.m. for high schools by the 2022-2023 school year.
While some school districts already begin instruction within the new guidelines, many districts in the state will have to prepare for these impending bell time adjustments.
Despite the logistical complications that accompany bell time changes, there is significant evidence that pushing back school start times can have an overwhelmingly positive effect on students. In fact, a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that starting school later can help reduce issues in adolescents like depression, suicide, and obesity.
A study from Education Next also points out that later school start times can improve student learning.
But outside of the positive effects bell time changes will have on students, these adjustments will have significant impact on all aspects of student transportation.
When making changes to bell times, you may have to consider things like:
- Engaging the community to make families aware of changes
- Budget implications from routing changes
- School board approval timelines
- Impacts to the number of buses and routes
Bell time studies and new bell time implementations can take up to 18-24 months to complete, and waiting too long to plan for the new bell time changes can drive up transportation costs in your district.
By planning ahead for significant bell time changes, we can ensure the process is less stressful and help implementation go smoothly. Fewer complaints from parents mean more time to focus on what you do best: educating your students and getting them to school on time and ready to learn.
Learn how FTS used a routing and bell time assessment to save one school district $100,000 annually by implementing routing assessments, bell time studies, and efficiency reviews.