Letter to Governor Brown re: SB 328

Letter to Governor Brown re: SB 328
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Dear Governor Brown,

We are writing to respectfully oppose SB 328 (Portantino).

The Sierra Sands Unified School District Board of Education recognizes the importance of proper rest; however, the prescriptive nature of SB 328 fails to recognize the negative and disproportionate safety, family/community, and fiscal impacts of imposing a one-size-fits-all mandate. This type of mandate is inconsistent with your steadfast belief in subsidiarity. Your signature policy implementation of the LCFF /LCAP is deeply rooted in the concept of subsidiarity and we believe SB 328 conflicts with the revolutionary change that you ushered in for public schools just a few years ago.

Sierra Sands Unified School District serves just over 5,000 students in the remote Mojave Desert. We serve students in a vast geographic area, which requires our fleet of district buses to transport students to and from our schools. Most of our families are connected to the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS), which does essential work for the protection and freedom of our

We implore you to consider the following negative impact SB 328 would impose on our district and unique community:
  • Parent/Guardian Work Schedules/Student Safety: Our city's largest employer, China Lake NAWS, work day begins at 7:00 am. Parents do not have the ability to adjust their work schedules. Early start times would not result in students acquiring more sleep. Parents would need to drop off students regardless of supervision or obtain child care.
  • Supervision: Due to the fact that most of our families are connected with the China Lake NA WS, many students would be dropped off at school sites two hours before SB 328 mandated start times.
  • Employee Work Day: With after school meetings such as IEP's and 504's, teacher availability could be impacted with the likelihood that these meetings would stretch past 5:00 pm.
  • Transportation Costs: The district is on a three tiered transportation program, staggering the middle schools, followed by the high school, and concluding with elementary sites. To maintain this program, the district would need approximately 28 additional drivers and buses. Along with other districts who still maintain transportation services, we struggle to have adequate drivers with the current model.
  • "Zero" Period: Enrichment activities such as music, newswriting, and PE are currently offered prior to the regular academic start time. SB 328 (Portantino) would eliminate these opportunities for students.
  • Athletics: Due to the district's geographical isolation, most athletic teams leave campus at 11 :30 am to engage in competitions which often take place two to three hours away. Currently, student athletes miss 5th, 6th, and 7th periods. If the later school start mandate is enforced, student athletes would miss 3rd (partial), 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th periodsnearly all of an instructional day. This shift would cause a late return time for ours students as well.
  • Climate/Energy Costs: Our desert temperatures create extreme heat conditions in the afternoon from May through September. Regular activities would be further curtailed and increased cooling costs would occur.
It is important to note that examples of out-of-state schools that have implemented later start times, frequently cited by proponents of this bill, may not be applicable given the greater resources available in other states to address these unintended consequences.

The Sierra Sands Unified School District Board of Education respectfully opposes SB 328 (Portantino). Please do not sign it. We ask this action of you as a locally elected school board, charged with governing our community thoughtfully and responsibly.