SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 3160

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED: †MARCH 4, 2019

 

††††† The Senate Education Committee favorably reports Senate Bill No. 3160.

†††† This bill establishes a four-year pilot program in the Department of Education on later school start times for high school students. The purpose of the program is to implement later school start times for high school students in selected school districts and to study the issues, benefits, and options for instituting a later start time to the school day for high school students. The pilot program will:

         implement the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics on the establishment of later school start times;

         include an assessment of the health, academic, and safety benefits associated with establishing later start times in high schools; and

         evaluate any potential negative impacts on school districts and families that may be associated with a later school start time, including issues related to transportation and after-school activities such as athletics, clubs, and other extracurricular activities, and consider strategies for addressing potential problems.

†††† Under the pilot program, a school district that includes grades 9 through 12 that wants to participate in the pilot program will submit an application to the commissioner. The application must provide information on the number of students in the high school, the current start time to the school day for high school students, the rate of absenteeism and tardiness for the districtís high school students, and an assessment of teacher satisfaction and student engagement and attentiveness. The application will detail how the implementation of a later start to the school day will serve to benefit high school students.

†††† The commissioner will select five school districts to participate in the pilot program, and is required to seek a cross section of school districts from urban, suburban, and rural areas of the State.

†††† Under the bill, the commissioner will submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature at the conclusion of the pilot program. The report is required to include: the number of students who participated in the pilot program; the start times of the school day for the high school students who participated in the program before and after participation in the pilot program; the impact the program has had on reducing tardiness and absenteeism; an assessment of the health, academic, and safety benefits associated with establishing later start times; an evaluation of any potential negative impacts on school districts and families that may be associated with a later start time; and the commissionerís recommendation on the adoption of later school start times for all high school students.