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Later school start times get Florida House approval


Many Florida high-school students would have their school start times pushed back under a measure approved Friday by the House.

The bill (HB 733) would prevent middle schools from beginning the “instructional day” earlier than 8 a.m., while high schools would be barred from starting the school day before 8:30 a.m.

The changes would have to go into effect by July 2026.

About 48 percent of Florida’s public high schools start school before 7:30 a.m., according to the Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. Another 19 percent of high schools start between 7:30 a.m. and 7:59 a.m.

But some House Democrats on Friday argued that changing start times would be costly and burdensome for school districts.

Rep. Bruce Antone, D-Orlando, said the Orange County district would have to spend money to buy additional buses and hire bus drivers to accommodate the change.

“This bill mandates some restrictions on my school district that are going to be very costly,” Antone said.

Bill sponsor John Temple, R-Wildwood, said the bill’s 2026 deadline would allow time for districts to prepare for the changes.

“The reason for three years — we are well aware that change is hard. We are well aware that change takes time. And so we’re giving that time, and we’re giving those resources to help with that,” Temple said.

A similar Senate bill (SB 1112) needs approval from two committees before it could be considered by the full Senate.

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News Service of Florida