Walk-Bike Cupertino Supporters: SB238 is a proposed law to require the schoolday for middle schools and high schools throughout California, including charter schools, to begin no earlier than 8:30am starting July 1, 2020. Current law allows the school boards to fix the length of the schoolday (including start/end times) for their particular schools. Traffic safety advocates in Palo Alto state this would negatively affect traffic in Palo Alto, and David Stillman, Cupertino Civil Engineer, shares these concerns about proposed change. Other residents, including Bike-Ped Commissioner Jennifer Shearin, support this initiative, as it will allow students’ schedules to more closely align with their teenage sleep/wake cycles and promote biking and walking during the winter months, when many students must commute to school in the dark. By having all schools within California start at a similar time, athletic games and competitive activities between schools will be able to be coordinated.
If you agree or disagree- please take a moment to write or call your local State Senator – Jim Beale and Representative Evan Low, to express your views and concern about this proposed legislation. They can be contacted at the email addresses below.
Senator Jim Beall
State Capitol, Room 2082
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4015
Representative Evan Low
Letter from Palo Alto Safety advocate, Penny Ellson ***************************************************
From: Penny Ellson <email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>>
Date: September 6, 2017 at 5:42:07 PM PDT
To: ‘David Stillman’ <email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>>,
Subject: SB328–Yes. You can call as individuals.
SB328 is a Senate Bill that would require middle schools and high schools to start later than 8:30am. In Palo Alto, this change would push school commuters into rush hour traffic, creating significant safety and congestion problems.
PAUSD’s secondary school bell times rang from 8:10-8:25. The bill, as it stands, gives us no flexibility to stagger bell times where a middle school and high school share school routes and it pushes students into rush hour traffic. Worse, it is likely to negate sleep gains by creating longer commutes caused by traffic delays.
Sometime between Sept 5-8 the bill will go to the Assembly for a floor vote. There are no specific dates for floor votes.
The Palo Alto PTAs have not yet taken a position because they cannot vote on a position until their first General Meeting of the year on September 13. (CAPTA supports SB328, but they neither considered nor studied school commute safety and congestion impacts before their vote). The PAPTA General Meeting may or may not happen in time to take a position for the floor vote in Sacramento, so if we are going to act, we must act as individuals.
The City of Palo Alto has suggested an amendment (for more info on this see attached letter from Mayor Scharff) which follows:
The governing board of a school district may request, and the state board may authorize, a waiver of this section if a school district demonstrates that significant impacts to school commute safety and congestion will result from moving bell times to 8:30am or later. The waiver may be granted for up to two years, and, upon approval by the state board, may be extended as long as needed with periodic review every five years.
How You Can Help
Call Senator Jerry Hill and Marc Berman to request an amendment (same language). It’s a quick call to make. Just register your opinion with the staffer who answers the phone on SB328—“I oppose the current SB328 language, but would support it if the City of Palo Alto’s proposed amendment were accepted.”
Senator Jerry Hill Senator.email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
San Mateo Office: 650-212-3313 Sacramento Office: 916-651-4013
Assembly Member Marc Berman
Los Altos Office: 650-691-2121 Sacramento Office: 916-319-2024
I attached the city’s letter so that you can easily reference it for talking points. I also attached the legislative staff analysis which outlines significant potential local costs (notably not including the unstudied and therefore unknown transportation mitigation costs).
Thank you in advance for making these calls. Yup. They count them.