April 11, 2021

Legislation amends school start time law for “rural” and charter schools

Image by TaniaRose from Pixabay

Senator Portantino amended SB 328 last week to define which LEAs would qualify as rural under the late school start time law, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2022, or upon the expiration date of the collective bargaining agreement that was operative on January 1, 2020.

One of the outstanding questions that has yet to be answered regarding the implementation of this impending law is the definition of “rural,” since statute exempts rural districts from the late school start time provisions.

Under the 2021 version of SB 328, the bill expands the exemption to include rural charter schools and defines a rural school district or charter school, for the purposes of the late school start time law, to be a school district or charter school that meets any of the following criteria:

  • Located in a county with a total population of 70,000 or fewer people
  • At least 50% of the schools maintained by the school district are designated as “rural” under the federal Universal Service E-rate program, or the charter school is designated as “rural” under the federal Universal Service E-rate program
  • Eligible to receive grants under the federal Small, Rural School Achievement program or another federal grant program in which eligibility is determined based on a “rural” designation

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